Murder of Somali man may have been revenge

The Somali man shot dead early Monday was a key witness against another Somali convicted of murder. Ali Ismael was slain in his car in Stevens Square.

Earlier this year, Ismael testified for the prosecution in the trial of Hassan Mohamed Abdilahi. Abdilahi was convicted of killing Abdishakur Hassan last year, outside of the Somali mall at 912 E. 24th Street. He was sentenced to 32 years in prison.

Ismael's murder has put a strain on relations between Somalis and the police, the Star Tribune is reporting. David Chanen's story pieces together the family ties and friendships that have led to this blood feud, as well as how this latest development may hamstring police efforts.

Last November, a 12-month string of violence had left five Twin Cities Somali men dead. The murders had abated until Ismael was killed this week.