Al-Shabaab, the Islamic terrorist group allied with al-Qaeda, is reporting on its website that a Somali American from Minnesota, 25-year-old Abdullahi Ahmed, blew himself up during a car bombing in the Somali capital of Mogadishu.
GlobalPost reports that Ahmed was known as Al-Amriki, and that he traveled to Somalia two years ago to join Al-Shabaab. He tried but failed to drive an explosives-laden car through a security barrier on Monday, but still killed a number of African Union soldiers.[jump]
If the report proves true, Ahmed's story joins others linking Minnesota to Al-Shabaab over the past few years. The organization is fighting for control of southern Somalia, where it is trying to impose Sharia law.
In 2009, U.S. Special Forces killed Salah Ali Nabhan in Somalia. He was suspected of being a senior instructor for new al-Shabab recruits, which brought in young Somali-Americans from Minneapolis to join their fight in Somalia.
Last August, two Somali-Americans from Minnesota were among 14 targeted in a string of arrests related to the disappearance of Somali men suspected of returning to Somalia to fight with the militant group. Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan were accused of raising money for Al-Shabaab and transferring it using fake identities.
In November, Abdi Mahdi Hussein, also from Minnesota, was accused of conspiring with Mohamud Abdi Yusuf, of St. Louis, to hide the paper trail for money sent from the U.S. to Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was in Minneapolis last week to praise the work of Somali organizations trying to steer young people away from the temptations of jihad in Africa, but he was also met by protesters who believe Somalis are being unfairly profiled and harassed by the U.S. government.