Entries in Minnesota (3)


Americans Slip From Minnesota to Somali Terror Group, FBI Says

File photo. SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Young American men continue to slip through a terrorist recruiting pipeline from the homeland to join the ranks of jihadists half a world away in East Africa, with two going as recently as three months ago, according to federal officials.

The FBI confirmed that in July two young men disappeared from their neighborhoods in Minneapolis and are believed to have traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabaab, the embattled al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group.

Under "Operation Rhino," for years the FBI has been investigating what has been described as a recruiting pipeline from the Twin Cities, which boast large Somali immigrant populations, to Somalia. Both top U.S. officials and at least one prominent member of al-Shabaab said Americans account for dozens of the terror group's fighters. A 2011 congressional report put the number around 40.

"Minnesota represented!" writes American-born rapping jihadist Omar Hammami in an autobiography posted online in May, though he claimed most of the U.S. recruits were already dead. "Those Minnesota brother[s] have almost all left their mark on the [jihad] and most have received martyrdom, while the rest are still waiting."

Kyle Loven, chief division counsel for the FBI's Minneapolis field office, said recruits going to Somalia from Minnesota "continues to be a matter of grave concern and the FBI remains fully committed to resolving this situation."

Al-Shabaab has suffered several recent defeats at the hands of African military forces and lost its final urban stronghold in Somalia earlier this month. But Western and Somali security experts told ABC News they are concerned such defeats may tempt the terror group into abandoning insurgency in Somalia for a renewed focus on international terrorism.

An African Union official said there is worry that the same fighters driven out of Somalia could launch attacks abroad, from Kenya and Uganda to the U.S.

During congressional testimony in January, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper listed al-Shabaab as one of the most significant terror threats to the homeland, in part due to a "foreign fighter cadre that includes U.S. passport holders... [who] may have aspirations to attack inside the United States."

U.S. Special Representative for Somalia James Swan told reporters last month that al-Shabaab's recent losses caused some of the terror group's foreign fighters to flee, but Swan did not know if that meant they were abandoning jihad or simply heading to a different al Qaeda-affiliated group in another country such as Yemen.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Somali Terror Investigation: Man Extradited to US from Netherlands

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The Justice Department Monday announced the extradition of a Somali man from the Netherlands to Minneapolis, where he appeared in federal court before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Michael J. Davis. Mohamud Omar is facing terrorism charges for his alleged role in the recruitment of Somali-American men to fight with the al Qaeda-linked al Shabaab terrorist network.

The 45-year-old permanent U.S resident and Somali citizen living in the Netherlands was arrested and charged in 2009 with five counts of conspiracy, including aiding and abetting, conspiracy to kill, kidnap maim and injure and providing materials support to terrorists. Omar allegedly helped provide financing for the young Somali men to obtain weapons and helped facilitate travel from the United States to Somalia.

Omar had been granted permanent U.S. resident status in 1994, and is believed to have traveled to and from Somalia on several occasions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FBI Investigates Possible American Suicide Bomber in Somalia

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(MINNEAPOLIS) -- The FBI field office in Minneapolis, Minn., is investigating a claim posted on an Al Shabaab Web forum that a man from that city was a suicide bomber who detonated himself in a blast Monday that killed two African Union soldiers.

FBI agents and analysts are attempting to corroborate reports on jihadist websites with what has been recovered from the bombing site. It is unclear if or when the bureau will get any remains for DNA analysis or possible fingerprints.

If this case is confirmed it would be the third incident in which an American has become a suicide bomber in Somalia.
An FBI spokesman in Minneapolis said, “We are aware of the incident and trying to determine the accuracy of the reporting.”
On Thursday afternoon, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she could not confirm the incident but said, “It’s consistent with something we have been raising for months…which is a growth of Americans or U.S. persons who have become radicalized…it can be homegrown extremists…it can be U.S. persons from the Somali community…that is a a fundamental change in how we have seen terrorism, how we saw it at the beginning or…the time since we saw it at the attacks of 9/11.”
The name being cited as the bomber is Abdullahi Ahmed. That name is not among the missing youths from Minneapolis who were part of an FBI alert last year.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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