* Kenya supports fight against al Qaeda
By George Obulutsa
NAIROBI, April 21 (Reuters) - Kenyan police have said they have information al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab insurgents plan to carry out attacks in heavily populated areas in the country during the Easter holidays.
Twice hit by al Qaeda attacks, Kenya has long cast a wary eye at its lawless neighbour Somalia and is among countries in the region supporting the fight against al Shabaab.
"We wish to inform the public that police headquarters has received intelligence that al Shabaab terrorist group has threatened to carry out violent attacks on certain targets in our major population centres," Police Commissioner Matthew Iteere said in a statement.
Iteere did not name any particular towns targeted, but said among places at risk were shopping malls, places of worship, government buildings and recreational areas.
"I wish to assure the public that in conjunction with other security services, we have taken measures to improve security in and around the possible targets by among others increasing security surveillance patrols," he said.
Al Shabaab controls large swathes of central and southern Somalia, which has not had an effective central government since the 1991 overthrow of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre.
In February, the group threatened to strike Kenya with an assault similar to a twin suicide bomb attack on the Ugandan capital in July, saying Kenya trained Somali government forces and allowed Ethiopian troops to operate from its towns.
Al Shabaab, which has waged an insurgency against Somalia's Western-backed government, claimed responsibility for the bombings in Kampala as football fans watched the finals of the World Cup tournament on television, killing 79.
In December, a blast on a Kampala-bound bus in Nairobi killed two in the Kenyan capital, hours after Ugandan security agencies issued an alert for possible attacks. (Editing by Sophie Hares)