Competing jihadist groups comment on reports of Hammami's death
Over the past three days, both the Muslim Youth Center, which is Shabaab's affiliate in Kenya, and the Islamic World Issues Study Center, a fringe jihadist outlet that has feuded with Shabaab's leaders, have commented on the reports of the death of American jihadist Omar Hammami. Shabaab is said to have killed Hammami, a Brit named Usama al Brittani, and a Somali earlier this week [see LWJ report, Shabaab kills American jihadist Omar Hammami and British fighter].
Shabaab has not confirmed the death of Hammami, who has criticized the group in social media for more than a year.
In a statement posted on its blog and Twitter account today, the MYC said it is very likely that Hammami is dead.
Two days earlier, on Sept. 12, the IWISC issued a eulogy for Hammami, which is the strongest indication that he was indeed killed. It stated that Hammami was killed along with the two other men on Sept. 11. The IWISC has been more than sympathetic to Hammami in the past; the group has published propaganda by Hammami that criticized Shabaab. I strongly suspect that the IWISC has been run by either Hammami or one of his cohorts.
The SITE Intelligence Group's summaries of the two statements are reproduced below, in full.
SITE's summary of the MYC statement:
The Kenya-based Muslim Youth Center (MYC) issued a statement on the reported killing of American jihadist Omar Hammami (AKA Abu Mansour al-Amriki) by the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement, justifying his death and defending Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu al-Zubeir. In an English message posted on the group's blog and Twitter account on September 14, 2013, the MYC's Press Office claimed it received word from a "senior Kenyan Mujahid" in Somalia that "strongly suggests" the news of Hammami's death is accurate. It reiterated points it raised in the past, that Hammami sought personal fame at the expense of jihad in Somalia, and that his using social media to sow discord among fighters and slander Zubeir warranted action. Referring to the American jihadist's interview with the Voice of America and his distancing himself from both the Shabaab and al-Qaeda, the MYC said he essentially declared his intention to "betray" the fighters in Somalia, and "ultimately, betrayal has a price".SITE's summary of the IWISC statement:
The Islamic World Issues Study Center (IWISC) mourned the death of American jihadist Omar Hammami (AKA Abu Mansour al-Amriki), British jihadist Usama al-Britani, and a Somali fighter, who were killed by the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement. The group, which had interviewed Hammami and published statements from Shabaab officials critical of Mukhtar Abu al-Zubeir, posted the eulogy on its website and the al-Jihad al-'Alami forum on September 12, 2013. According to the message, the three men were killed on September 11. The IWISC remarked: "This tragedy comes on the day of the anniversary of the blessed events of September 11, in which we had been anticipating blessed operations against the homeland of disbelief and atheism, America, and its proxies. However, the Shabaab Movement refused but to offer us the tragedy of the killing of the sheikh and his brethren on this day." The IWISC questioned who stands to benefit from the deaths of these men and the Shabaab officials before them, namely, Abu Bakr al-Zayla'i and Burhan Sheikh Hashi, and urged Shabaab fighters and leaders to change their ways before jihad in Somalia is lost.