Just one day after a Chicago man was arrested for attempting to travel to Somalia to assist the al Qaeda-aligned terror group Shabaab, the FBI has unsealed four indictments announcing arrests and charges against more than a dozen Somali-Americans for raising funds for the group.
Among those arrested are two women, Amina Farah and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, naturalized citizens who are accused by federal prosecutors of door-to-door soliciting on behalf of Shabaab under the guise of “giving the funds to the poor and needy.” At least a dozen other persons in Minnesota, Alabama, and California are charged with helping facilitate the transfer of funds to Somali-based conspirators or are fighting in Somalia alongside the terror group
From the Attorney General’s press conference:
An indictment was unsealed in Minnesota charging 10 men with terrorism offenses for leaving the United States to join al-Shabaab as foreign fighters. Seven of these defendants had been previously charged by either indictment or criminal complaint. The remaining three defendants had not been charged before.
In the District of Minnesota alone, a total of 19 defendants have been charged in connection with this investigation. Nine of these defendants have been arrested in the United States or overseas, five of whom pleaded guilty. Ten of the charged defendants are not in custody and are believed to be overseas.
Additionally, two U.S. citizens and former residents of Alabama and California — Omar Shafik Hammami and Jehad Serwan Mostafa, have been charged in separate cases with providing material support to al-Shabaab. Both are believed to be in Somalia and fighting on behalf of al-Shabaab.
Shabaab recently took credit for the attacks in Uganda that killed 74 civilians, displaying its ability to execute potential attacks outside its Somali base. Shabaab has been on the federal authorities’ radar since the disappearance of more than a dozen Somali-American youths from Minneapolis who traveled to Somalia to fight with the terrorist group; notably, a majority of those recently arrested are from Minneapolis.
Omar Hammami, a young Alabama native, is certainly the most troubling name on the indictment list for federal authorities. Since joining Shabaab in Somalia several years ago, Hammami has starred in recruitment videos aimed at luring Americans to take up arms in Somalia, and has worked his way up to the position of military commander within the group.
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