Abdisalan Hussein Ali, who is also known as Cabdi Salaam al Muhajir. Image from the The New York Times.
The American who was one of two suicide bombers who attacked an African Union base in Mogadishu on Oct. 29 appears to have been identified. Shabaab had initially identified him as Cabdi Salaam al Muhajir, but his real name is Abdisalan Hussein Ali. From The New York Times:
The recording was a suicide message, posted online on Sunday by an Islamist militia aligned with Al Qaeda. The voice was said to be that of Abdisalan Hussein Ali, 22, who was born in Somalia but spent his formative years in Minneapolis.
Omar Jamal, a Somali diplomat at the United Nations, said that Mr. Ali was one of the bombers. Mr. Ali’s friends and family listened to the recording, Mr. Jamal said, “and they all say that it is him.”
A spokesman for the American Embassy in Nairobi said the United States had “seen reports” that one of the bombers was an American citizen, and was investigating them.
Mr. Ali was known by the F.B.I. to be one of an estimated 30 Americans who have joined the Shabaab, at least 20 of whom came from the Somali community in Minneapolis.
He had been an ambitious pre-med student at the University of Minnesota, hoping for an internship at the Mayo Clinic, before he disappeared in 2008. The audio recording, in which the speaker exhorts Westerners to join the fight, appears to reflect those qualities.
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