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November 19, 2013

ADL’s Terrorism Update Focuses On How FTOs Attract American Recruits

The November edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now avail­able to our subscribers.

The fea­ture arti­cle focuses on Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affiliate organization in Somalia, and its capacity to attract American recruits to its cause. Al Shabaab claimed that three Americans participated in the group’s deadly attack this September on the Westgate Mall in Nterrorism-update-subscribe-adlairobi, Kenya, and nearly 50 other American citizens and permanent residents have either travelled to Somalia or have otherwise aided the terrorist organization since 2007.

The Profile in Terror features Omar Hammami, an American citizen from Alabama who once served as a primary English-language recruiter for Al Shabaab before he was apparently killed by other Al Shabaab members on September 13, 2013.

This edi­tion of Terrorism Update also includes infor­ma­tion on a recent terror-related arrest in North Carolina, which under­scores a con­tin­ued trend of Amer­i­cans attempt­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in the Syr­ian con­flict, as well as arrests in New York and California.

An update on one of the leaders of Revolution Muslim, the fringe anti-Semitic Muslim organization based in New York that justified terrorist attacks and other forms of violence against non-Muslims, is also highlighted in this edition, as is ADL’s collection of resources on Inspire Magazine, the English-language propaganda magazine produced by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

Readers can subscribe to the ADL Terrorism Update to automatically receive the bi-monthly newsletter.

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September 23, 2013

Al Shabaab Claims Americans Took Part In Mall Attack In Kenya

Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group that has claimed responsibility for attacking Nairobi’s Westgate mall on Saturday, has indicated via its Twitter account that three Americans took part in the assault that has killed over 60 people and injured over 150 others thus far.al-shabaab-recruits

Al Shabaab provided the names of the Americans on its Twitter account; Ahmed Mohamed Isse of St. Paul, Minnesota, Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid of Minneapolis, and Gen Mustafe Noorudiin of Kansas City, Missouri.

Since 2007, dozens of Americans have travelled to Somalia to fight with Al Shabaab. Many of these Americans have received weapons training alongside recruits from other countries, and have used the training to fight against the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia and the international forces that have backed it. At least three of these American recruits have engaged in suicide bombings in Somalia.

One such recruit from Minneapolis, 22-year-old Abidsalan Hussein Ali, was one of two suicide bombers who attacked African Union troops in October 2011. The first American Al Shabaab suicide bomber, Shirwa Ahmed, carried out a suicide bombing at the Ethiopian Consulate and the presidential palace in Hargeisa in October 2009. The second, Farah Mohamad Beledi, carried out a suicide bombing in May 2011, targeting a military base outside Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

Most of the American men that have trained with Al Shabaab are believed to have been radicalized in the U.S., and have been recruited by Al Shabaab both on the Internet and in person. Omar Hammami, an American citizen from Alabama, is perhaps the most well-known American recruiter for Al Shabaab. The group disseminated online propaganda videos featuring Hammami to recruit young American men to join its insurgency.omar-hammami-twitter

Hammami was reportedly executed in Somalia last week by his former associates. Ham­mami appar­ently split with Al Shabaab over his belief that it was inter­ested only in local pol­i­tics and the fight in Soma­lia, rather than the cause of a global ”jiahd of the entire Ummah [Mus­lim nation].”

Although most of Al Shabaab’s violent acts have occurred within Somalia’s borders, it has expressed a willingness to attack outside targets. In July 2010 it committed twin bombings against targets in Uganda that killed more than 70 people, including an American aid worker. Danish intelligence officials have alleged that an attempt to kill a Danish cartoonist who printed controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 by a Somali national six months before the Uganda is linked to Al Shabaab as well.

The group has also declared an “open battle” against Israel, which it deems the “oppressing Zionist entity,” and Jewish interests in Africa. Israelis owned stores in the Westgate mall and the attack underscores Al Shabaab’s battle with Jews and Israel.

See ADL’s Report: Al Shabaab’s American Recruits

 

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February 26, 2013

Al Shabaab Highlights Global Role in New Video

Al Shabaab, the Somalia branch of Al Qaeda, released a new English-language and English-subtitled video yesterday directed at Western audiences. 

The video, “Mujahideen Moments,” highlights the role of foreign fighters in the terrorist organization, featuring statements and speeches by two Kenyans and an American, identified only as “Abu Ahmed al-Amriki.”

Abu Ahmed’s face is obscured in the video and it is impossible at this point to verify his true identity.  Abu Ahmed urges listeners to join the battlefronts “whether it’s here in Somalia, whether it’s in Mali, whether it’s in Afghanistan, whether it’s in Iraq, or whether it’s in Al-Maghrib Al-Islami [North Africa],” saying that they should fight because there are no excuses from the obligation of jihad.  He also promises victory and that “America is going down, and the Khilafah [Caliphate] is rising.”

The video encourages foreigners to join jihad, or if they cannot travel, to “fight the enemies of Allah where you find them.”

While Al Shabaab has long used foreign fighters in its propaganda to attract Western recruits, the video seems to be, in part, a response to its former American spokesperson, Omar Hammami. Hammami apparently split with the group over his belief that it was interested only in local politics and the fight in Somalia, rather than the cause of a global ”jiahd of the entire Ummah [Muslim nation].” In messages released late last year, Hammami highlighted the tensions between “the muhajireen [Arabs and foreign fighters] and the Ansar [local supporters of Al Shabaab].”

By featuring foreign fighters in the video, especially Abu Ahmed, Al Shabaab may be trying to counter Hammami’s allegations and show that it maintains a significant international support base.

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