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American carried out Somalia suicide bombing, Islamists claim

By Mohamed Amiin Adow and Chris Welch
October 30, 2011 -- Updated 1708 GMT (0108 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A website associated with Al-Shabaab posts an audio interview with the alleged bomber
  • The American-accented speaker urges his brothers and sisters to "do jihad"
  • He would be at least the third Minnesota Somali-American to blow himself up in Somalia
  • In the Somali-language version, he boasts of having killed many infidels

(CNN) -- A suicide bomber who carried out an attack in Somalia this weekend was an American citizen of Somali descent, a website associated with the Al-Shabaab Islamist movement claimed Sunday.

The website named the bombers as Aden al-Ansari and Cabdi Salaam al-Muhajir, and posted what it said was an audio interview with al-Muhajir speaking American-accented English.

The speaker urges his "brothers and sisters" to "do jihad" in America, Canada, England, "anywhere in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in China, in Australia, anywhere you find kuffar," a derogatory term for non-Muslims.

The African Union force trying to establish order in Somalia said there had been an attack Saturday involving two suicide bombers in the capital Mogadishu, but said AU troops "beat off" the attack by "al-Qaeda linked terrorists."

Al-Shabaab is associated with al Qaeda and is considered a terrorist organization by the United States. The African Union military spokesman in the country did not immediately respond to a CNN question about the identity of the bombers or whether any AU troops were injured.

Omar Jamal, a Somali diplomat at the United Nations, identified the person who made the audio recordings as Abdisalam Ali of Minneapolis. He told CNN that friends of Ali had listened to the messages in English and Somali and were "convinced it is him."

The discrepancy in names may mean that the name released by Al-Shabaab is a nom de guerre.

Jamal said Abdisalam left Minneapolis on November 4, 2008, with another man, Burhan Hassan, who has since been killed.

Kyle Loven, an FBI spokesman in Minneapolis, told CNN, "We're aware of the reporting but not able to confirm any IDs at this time."

In the Somali-language interview that Al-Shabaab released, the speaker says he has been fighting with the group for two years and killed "many infidels" with his own hands.

Jamal said this weekend's bombing was the third time a Minnesota Somali-American had carried out a suicide bombing in Somalia.

The previous two were Shirwa Ahmed, 27, who was the first confirmed American suicide bomber in U.S. history, and Farah Mohamed Beledi, also 27.

Ahmed killed himself and 29 others in the fall of 2008. The FBI identified Beledi as one of two suicide bombers responsible for killing two African Union soldiers in Somalia in May.

In recent years, approximately 20 young men -- most of them Somali-Americans -- have traveled from the Minneapolis area to Somalia to train with Al-Shabaab, and a number of them have gone on to fight with the terrorist organization, U.S. officials said.

And this month, a federal jury found two Minnesota women guilty of raising money for Al-Shabaab.

According to the federal indictment, Amina Farah Ali, 35, and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, 64, of Rochester, Minnesota, solicited funds in ways that included going door-to-door "under the false pretense that the funds were for the poor and needy."

The two were charged with one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

Ali was also found guilty of 12 other counts including sending more than $8,000 in 2008 and 2009.

CNN's Carol Cratty contributed to this report.

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