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Bloody rivalry erupts between al-Shabab, IS group in Somalia

NAIROBI, Kenya — Officials in Somalia say a bloody rivalry has emerged between extremist groups as the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab hunts upstart fighters allied to the Islamic State group, who have begun demanding extortion payments from major businesses.

The conflict supports some observers’ suspicions that al-Shabab, now scrambling to defend its monopoly on the mafia-style extortion racket that funds its high-profile attacks, is drifting from its long-declared goal of establishing a strict Islamic state.

According to several Somali intelligence officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media, the manhunt began in October with the killing of a top leader of the IS-linked group by a suspected al-Shabab death squad in the capital, Mogadishu.