FBI wants DNA proof of third Minnesota Somali suicide bomber
Abdisalan Ali is thought to be the young man from Minneapolis who killed himself and at least 10 others in a Mogadishu suicide attack. But some who've listened to the recording which is supposedly Ali's last violent message to Muslims claim it's not him.
To clear up the confusion, the FBI is hoping to use DNA evidence to identify Ali as the bomber. If his identity is confirmed, Ali would become the third definite case of a Minnesota-grown Somali fleeing this country to kill himself and others on behalf of al-Shabaab, the Somali terrorist group ravaging that country.
While some close to Ali claim he isn't the man encouraging violent jihad in the online video, Abdirizak Bihi, a Minneapolis resident whose nephew has also left town to join al-Shabaab, told the Star Tribune that Ali's message of jihad in America is a new one for al-Shabaab.
"Asking [Muslim youth] to act where they are is a new thing," he said.
To be clear, the bomber's message had no specific Minnesota tie.
"My brothers and sisters," he said, "do Jihad in America, do Jihad in Canada, do Jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia."
Who in fact said those words is still in some doubt, with some sources telling the Star Tribune that the voice on the recording must be Ali, and others saying they're sure it's not.
FBI division counsel Kyle Loven told the Star Tribune DNA results on the bomber's body are expected within a few weeks.
If Ali is determined to be the most recent suicide bomber, he'd join an infamous list of former Minnesota youth that includes Shirwah Ahmed, who killed himself and others in 2008, and Farah Beledi, who, like this weekend's attacker, carried out a bombing on an African Union base in Somalia in June. Beledi's identity was confirmed using DNA and fingerprints.
FBI special agent E.K. Wilson says there has never been a credible threat posed to the United States by al-Shabaab, but Bihi, who told the Star Tribune he'd listened to the most recent suicide message 30 times, said he heard something new in the recording. While previous al-Shabaab recruiting videos had advertised the life of a warrior and martyr in Somalia, the message thought to be from Abdisalan Ali is the first to promote homegrown terrorism on other countries.
"This guy," Bihi said, "was more about the youth here."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.