American fighter pictured with Shabaab commander identified


Left: Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax (Abdullah al Amriki), from the FBI’s website. Right: Faarax [right] with Omar Hammami [left], from a posting at a jihadist website on Dec. 7, 2011. Image from the SITE Intelligence Group.

A Shabaab fighter who has been seen in pictures with military commander Omar Hammami has been identified by The Long War Journal as an American who is wanted by the US government and who fled the country for Somalia in 2009.

The Long War Journal has confirmed that the Shabaab fighter identified by the terror group as Abdullah al Amriki (“the American”) is in fact Cabdulaahi Ahmed Faarax, an American who recruited for the terror group and left the US in October 2009 to wage jihad in Somalia.

Faarax has been seen in pictures with Hammami that were released on jihadist web forums twice since the beginning of December 2011; first on Dec. 7, and again on Jan. 7. Hammami, another American, is a Shabaab military commander and recruiter who eulogized Osama bin Laden after his death in May 2011. Hammami is on the US’s list of specially designated global terrorists for his ties to al Qaeda.

Faarax was one of eight men from Minnesota who were charged by the Department of Justice with links to Shabaab and international terrorism in 2009. The Justice Dept. named all eight men in November 2009.

In October 2009, Farax and Abdiweli Yassin Isse, another Shabaab operative, were charged with “with conspiring to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons outside the United States.”

“[I]n the fall of 2007, Faarax and others met at a Minneapolis mosque to telephone co-conspirators in Somalia to discuss the need for Minnesota-based co-conspirators to go to Somalia to fight the Ethiopians,” the Justice Dept. press release from November 2009 stated.

At another meeting during the fall of 2007, Faarax told the potential recruits that he was wounded while previously waging jihad along the border with Kenya, where he “had experienced true brotherhood while fighting a ‘jihad’ in Somalia.”

“Faarax also described his own fighting in Somalia in detail, explaining that he fought on the Somlia/Kenya border, described that he was wounded during the fighting, that one of his fellow fighters been killed, and described the fighting as ‘guerrilla fighting,'” according to the affidavit that was filed by the FBI. “Faarax also told the co-conspirators that traveling to Somalia to fight jihad will be fun and not to be afraid. Faarax also explained to his co-conspirators that they would get to shoot guns in Somalia.”

During several interviews with the FBI, Faarax lied about his activities in support of Shabaab, according to the indictment. The indictment also noted that Faraax went by a number of aliases, including: “Adaki,” “Hayakallah,” “Mardaki,” and “Smiley.”

Faarax “departed the state of Minnesota in a rental car, with a final destination of Somalia,” on Oct. 5, 2009, just before he was formally charged with supporting Shabaab.

Faarax is one of an estimated 50 Somali-Americans who are thought to have been recruited in the US to train and fight with Shabaab, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Somalia. At least two Americans have carried out suicide attacks in Somalia, and Shabaab claimed that two other Americans have carried out such attacks.

For more information on Americans and foreigners who are fighting for Shabaab, see LWJ report, American Shabaab fighter and commander pictured together. For more information on Shabaab’s links to al Qaeda, see LWJ reports, Somalia’s Shabaab vows allegiance to new al Qaeda emir Zawahiri, and Al Qaeda leaders play significant role in Shabaab.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • WHAT? says:

    ” during several interviews with the FBI, Faarax lied” He was under FBI observation when he disappeared? HARD to believe.

  • mike merlo says:

    Sounds like a possible agent provocateur. I wonder what the success rate is when trying to ‘turn’ these people?

  • john says:

    As a US citizen, if he had committed no chargeable crime in the USA before leaving then there would be no reason to prevent him from renting a car and driving to the airport.
    Looks like he sensed that they were closing in and got out in time. Good riddance but too bad for the Somalis and Ethiopians. I am sorry for his parents to have a son twisted by hatred for a country that gave them shelter and opportunity.

  • Dani says:

    How do these “kids” end up as jihadi’s after growing up in the USA? Who teaches them this stuff? This sort of thing does not happen over night. Incredible.


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