Somali suicide bomber from Minneapolis: "Do Jihad in America"
A suicide bomber who blew himself up in Mogadishu yesterday in an attack that killed 10 had traveled to Somalia from Minneapolis in 2008.
Abdisalan Ali had emigrated to Minnesota with his family when he was 2 years old, but was among 20 local youths who returned to the war-torn land to fight in its civil war back in 2008. He is the fourth American to kill himself in a suicide attack in Somalia.
In a clip posted by an Al-Qaida-linked militant group on Somalimemo.net today, the man alleged to be Ali urges fellow Muslims to conduct attacks in Western countries.
"My brothers and sisters, do Jihad in America, do Jihad in Canada, do Jihad in England, anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia," the suicide bomber urges.
Omar Jamal, a spokesman for the Somali community in Minnesota, claimed that several people who knew Ali when he lived here recognized his voice.
Later in the tape, Ali mixes American slang into his rambling call to arms.
"Don't just sit around and be a couch potato and just chill all day," Ali stammers. "It will not benefit yourself, or the Muslims."
Ali is not the first Somali suicide bomber with ties to Minnesota. In June, the FBI confirmed that Farah Mohamed Beledi of St. Paul was one of two men who died in a Mogadishu suicide attack.
Beledi was one of 13 Twin Cities men indicted on terrorism charges in July 2010, as part of the ongoing probe into how young Somali men from the cities are being recruited to fight for al-Shabaab.
Additionally, Al-Shabaab claimed that Abdullahi Ahmed, a 25-year-old Minnesotan, blew himself up with a car bomb in Mogadishu.
In 2009, U.S. Special Forces killed Salah Ali Nabhan, who 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.
Here is how Ali was described in a New York Times report about the missing Somali men:
Abdisalan Ali was only a few months old when his family escaped Somalia in a makeshift wooden boat, seeking refuge at a Kenyan refugee camp, his mother said in an interview. One of 12 children, he arrived in Seattle in 2000 and later settled in northeast Minneapolis. At Edison High School, he sold sneakers from his locker to help support his family. Stocky from lifting weights, he answered to the nickname Bullethead. Mr. Ali was elected president of the Somali Student Association at Edison and later, was a caseworker at the law firm Briggs & Morgan. "He was a highly motivated kid," recalled his former mentor, adding that Mr. Ali "wanted to change lives." With dreams of becoming a doctor, Mr. Ali pursued a pre-med track at the University of Minnesota, majoring in chemical engineering. One night in 2008, after meeting with his mentor to discuss the MCATs, he was wrongly accused of robbing a Subway on campus. The incident left him bruised long after the charges were dropped, friends said. He left for Somalia on Nov. 3, according to a travel itinerary, and has continued to communicate with friends in Minneapolis by phone and on Facebook.
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