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Two Minnesotans may be among attackers in Kenyan mall massacre

Still from a recruitment video featuring the stories of three men who traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for jihad.
Still from a recruitment video featuring the stories of three men who traveled from Minneapolis to Somalia for jihad.

Two Minnesotans may be among the group that slaughtered shoppers of Nairobi's Westgate mall this weekend with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

An English-language Twitter account purporting to speak for al-Shabab, Somalia's al-Qaeda affiliate, live-tweeted the massacre. Before the social-networking service shut down the feed, it claimed to identify 10 of the gunmen, including three Americans in their 20s.

SEE ALSO: Al-Shabaab recruitment video features men who traveled from Mpls to Somalia for jihad

Their names have not been released by authorities, and no official connection has been made. The Daily Beast, however, in an article citing an unnamed U.S. counterterrorism source, reports that

two of them are alleged to be from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area in Minnesota, home to a large Somali-American community, from which Al-Shabab has been actively seeking to recruit in the past.

Earlier this year, al-Shabab published a recruitment video , "Minnesota's Martyrs: The Path to Paradise." It follows three men from the Twin Cities to training camps in Somalia.

Troy Kastigar, a Native American who converted to Islam in 2004, tells viewers, "This is the real Disney Land." He adds, "You need to come over here, join us, and take pleasure in this fun."

This weekend's carnage -- reportedly ongoing -- was described by the Washington Post as the deadliest terrorist attack in Kenya in 15 years. As of early Monday, the death toll had risen to 68 and another 175 injured. Sixty-three people were reported missing.

The attackers...had chosen a target popular with Westerners and wealthy Kenyans, a move sure to hurt the nation's critical tourism industry and spread unease among the numerous Western aid agencies based in Nairobi.

-- Email Jesse Marx at jmarx@citypages.com or follow him on Twitter at @marxjesse


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