March 16th, 2012
07:42 PM ET

American fears fellow jihadists will kill him

By Tim Lister

It seems that all is not well within Al-Shabaab, the Somali extremist group allied to al Qaeda. A short video was posted online Friday in which its best known propagandist, an American citizen from Alabama, said he believes that others in the group might attempt to assassinate him.

In the video, lasting just over a minute, Abu Mansour al-Amriki sat with a black banner behind him and a rifle leaning against a wall. In English and Arabic he says: "I record this message today because I feel that my life may be endangered by Harakat Shabaab al-Mujahideen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the sharia and matters of strategy."

He did not go into details and it's not known when the message was recorded.

Al-Amriki, whose real name is Omar Hammami, has become famous in jihadist circles for videos posted to YouTube and other social media encouraging fellow Americans to join Al-Shabaab. He is also seen in videos as a field commander, often shown leading fighters.

Ben Venzke of the terrorist monitoring group IntelCenter described the video as "unprecedented in recent history for a member of a major terrorist group to release a video fearing for his life from the very group he joined."

Venzke said that after the death of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki last year, Hammami has become the highest-profile English-speaking jihadist after al Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn.

"He has played a significant role in recruiting new fighters to Al-Shabaab and is believed to have been on track for a growing role and profile, not only in the group but in the broader jihadi community," Venzke said.

Hammami is not himself of Somali origin; his father is Syrian-born and his mother an American. He grew up in Daphne, Alabama, a suburb of Mobile.

After his family moved to Egypt in 2006, Hammami left with a friend to join Al-Shabaab and quickly climbed the ranks as more foreign fighters converged on Somalia, especially young Somali-Americans. Subsequently he was indicted in federal court in the United States on terrorism charges.

In one video posted in 2009, Hammami said: "If you can encourage more of your children, and more of your neighbors, and anyone around you to send people ... to this Jihad, it would be a great asset for us."

Last year, a few days after the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, he was reputed to have told an Al-Shabaab rally, "We are all Osama."

But since then, Al-Shabaab has been in some disarray. In June, a senior figure in the group - Abdul Fazul Mohamed - was killed at a roadblock in the capital, Mogadishu. African Union troops supporting Somalia's transitional government began pushing Al-Shabaab fighters out of several neighborhoods in the capital.

Once dominant in central and southern Somalia, Al-Shabaab has been put on the defensive by internal disagreement as well as attacks from Kenyan and Ethiopian forces.

The Kenyan government ordered a cross-border incursion last October aimed at creating a security buffer in southern Somalia, after attacks on tourist destinations in northern Kenya that it blamed on Al-Shabaab. More recently, Ethiopian troops crossed the border and expelled Al-Shabaab from Baidoa, a strategic town midway between the Ethiopian border and Mogadishu.

The group has turned to using more suicide attacks in the capital, targeting African Union soldiers and government buildings. The most recent was a suicide bombing by a "volunteer" this week at the Presidential Palace that killed at least five people.

Analysts say there appears to have been growing tension between Somalis within Al-Shabaab and foreign fighters, several hundred of whom are thought to have entered Somalia in recent years to join the group.  There may also have been disagreement within the group about the announcement in February of the merger of Al-Shabaab with al Qaeda, and about the group's ban on foreign aid organizations working in

Somalia to save millions threatened by famine.

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Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Terrorism
soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. backlink

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    April 24, 2013 at 6:53 pm | Reply
  2. NorCalMojo

    I hope they do off him. I like poetic justice.

    March 19, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Reply
    • Feltch

      Not as much as cock, I'll bet.

      March 20, 2012 at 12:34 am | Reply
    • Linda

      What a shame, huh.

      March 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  3. Bumba clot

    May peace come to this region of the world. There has got to be a better way then strapping a bomb on yourself and blowing up innocents? The very idea of stopping all foreign aid groups from coming in and putting millions of lives at risk of starvation just does not make any sense at all ! I do not care what kind of religion does this are not these same very people their own that will starve? Much respect

    March 19, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
    • 2011cnn2011

      The ones who dont practice peace will be droned (al waliki) or silent nite killed..(Bin Laden).....BOOM!!

      March 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  4. shamus

    Seal teams should have the go ahead to eliminate these terrorists,,wherever they are,,the terrorists are completely out of whack with the rest of the world,,and its time to shut down their religious beliefs and practise's.

    March 19, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
    • Feltch

      GO GO POWER RANGERS!

      March 19, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  5. Max

    Black Hawk Down, "Rememeber" , do you want fries with that ? ?

    March 19, 2012 at 2:39 pm | Reply
  6. Frederick Smith

    All religions are superstitious havens for the ignorant. Peace is difficult. War is easy.

    March 19, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  7. FU9L

    JUST KILL EM ALL BE DONE WITH THIS CULT CALLED ISLAM THIS IS NO RELIGON BUT A CULT THAT CLEARLY NEEDS TO BE ILLEGAL AND PUT DOWN

    March 19, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • sdboschick

      Islam is not a cult. Take the time to learn. I am a white Christian girl and I learned. Islam does not promote killing. The word Jihad literally means a stuggle. My Jihad is doing homework over spring break.

      March 19, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
      • dav

        Indeed it is a CULT which was founded by a cleric Muhammad,who was a Nestorian, gave up his time period in finding the esoteric knowledge studying the ancient Hebrew Sacred Texts. After him a new cult has risen which hold anti-universal-brotherhood thoughts opposite of the esoteric teachings he learned. Then the cult has been modified in terms and thoughts and its ancient meaning.

        March 19, 2012 at 11:24 pm |
    • Feltch

      You're a fucking idiot.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Reply
  8. BurntheQuaran

    Live by the sword die by the sword...

    March 17, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      That's right. So why even bother shaving...

      March 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Reply
      • sdboschick

        Um no where in the koran does it say that Islam was spead by a sword.

        March 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  9. brown

    Let these baaaasssstards starve to death!

    March 17, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Reply
    • Feltch

      Fuck youuuuuuuuuu!!!!!!!

      March 19, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Reply
  10. Guled

    Boohoo.... You got to be kidding me. This guy convinced so many kids to blow themselves up for whatever bullshit he believes in. Now its your turn, why so scared? lol. Scared of the 72 virgins....or you just figured out it was bullshit.
    Face it you coward, what goes around comes around.

    March 17, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Feltch

      Still believe in that "72 virgins" bullshit, eh, simpleton?

      March 19, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Reply
  11. somalipatriot

    oh yeah and people like him are the once that started suicide bombings in Somalians do not people suicide will get you to paradise.alshabab lost the few ignorant people who supported them when they said they are on global jihad aka All qaida.
    soon all the foreign jihadists body bags will be sent back to their countries US,UK,LIBYA,SAUDI YEMEN etc etc

    we have enough of war and suffering our people need peace not to be in the middle of battleground between the west and extremists who hijacked our religion

    March 17, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  12. somalipatriot

    HE should come to mogadishu so the parents of the school children you murdered in hotel sham will eat you alive before they send you ashes to america

    March 17, 2012 at 11:53 am | Reply
  13. Jack B

    Just who is this guy appealing to? In any case, it ain't all bad – there are 72 virgins eagerly waiting for his arrival...LOL

    March 17, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
    • Feltch

      Oh, look! – it's another "72 virgins" retard.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  14. RetiredVet

    Aint Karma a bitch?

    March 17, 2012 at 9:40 am | Reply
  15. N

    Haha, are we supposed to care?

    March 17, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
    • Feltch

      Then why post?

      March 19, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply
  16. Punt

    Mr. C
    Why would they call the Somali, he is American terrorist butchering Somali kids. Call the moron what he is "The American terrorist"

    March 17, 2012 at 9:10 am | Reply
    • Colin

      Yeah but Punt, don't you know? American's can't be terrorists, he HAS to be Somali now ;).

      Really though, let him live in fear and paranoia for what he has done. A terrorist is a terrorist be they American, Somalian, French or brown, white, black..Muslim, Christian...Well you get the idea. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Won't lose any sleep over this guy fearing for his life.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Reply
  17. Mr. C

    "Al amriki" ... the american... they should call him the "somali" instead; let's hope his fellow murderers take care of him....

    March 17, 2012 at 7:14 am | Reply
    • mogadishu_man

      what?

      we Somalis never knew anything about suicide before foreigners came like this American "muslim".

      have some more hamburgers that will wake you up.
      do you know how many states there are in you country? do you know Alabama is in your country that is where this guy is from. Alabama is not in somalia ok?

      March 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Feltch

      Yes, I'm sure the CIA and Homoland Security will 'take care' of him just fine.

      March 19, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
  18. mick

    sucko mate,youll get what you deserve.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Reply

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