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Somali teen from Minnesota reportedly killed in homeland

  • Story Highlights
  • 17-year-old who left Minnesota to return to Somalia feared killed in Mogadishu
  • Group of Somali men left state in 2008, feared recruited by al Qaeda-linked group
  • Somali Justice Advocacy Center asks feds for help to get body returned for U.S. burial
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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) -- A Somali teen who left Minnesota to return to his native country last November has been reported killed.

The 17-year-old, who was not named, was reportedly killed Friday in artillery fire in the violence-ravaged nation's capital of Mogadishu, said the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The center is asking federal officials for help in bringing the teen's body back to the United States for burial, executive director Omar Jamal said.

The teen was among a group of young Somali-American men who left Minneapolis last year and were feared recruited by the extremist group, al-Shabaab, that has ties to al Qaeda, according to the U.S. State Department.

Al-Shabaab is blamed for a surge of violence in Somalia, as insurgents group fight the government to implement sharia, a stricter form of Islamic law.

The rebel group has said it has recruited many fighters in its battle.

Al-Shabaab, also known as the Mujahedeen Youth Movement, was officially designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in March 2008.

In October, Shirwa Ahmed, 27, a Somali-American who had been radicalized by al-Shabaab in his adopted home state of Minnesota, traveled to Somalia and blew himself up and 29 others.

The incident, the first-ever suicide bombing by a naturalized U.S. citizen, raised red flags throughout the U.S. intelligence community.

Somalis began arriving in the United States in significant numbers after the U.S. intervention in Somalia's humanitarian crisis in 1992.

The Somali-American population is now concentrated in clusters primarily in Minneapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle, Washington and San Diego, California.

The potential recruitment of young Somali-American men has been made possible by "a number of factors that come together when a dynamic, influential and extremist leader gains access to a despondent and disenfranchised group of young men," Andrew Liepman, deputy director for intelligence at the National Counterterrorism Center, said earlier this year.

Many refugees, he said, "lack structure and definition in their lives" and are "torn between their parents' traditional tribal and clan identities, and the new cultures and traditions offered by American society."

CNN's Chris Welch in Minneapolis contributed to this report.

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