American jihadi reportedly killed in Somalia
In this handout picture taken on May 23, 2012 and made available by IntelCenter, American extremist in Somalia's Al-Qaeda affiliated rebels Omar Hammami poses with the cover of his autobiography on a laptop was released to prove the authenticity of his autobiography in an undisclosed location.
September 12th, 2013
02:15 PM ET

American jihadi reportedly killed in Somalia

By Paul Cruickshank

American Omar Hammami, who built a following in militant circles in the West for his idiosyncratic jihadist rap videos and had a U.S. bounty on his head, was among two notable jihadists reportedly killed in Somalia on Thursday.

Sources said Hammami and Briton Osama al-Britani were apparently ambushed west of Mogadishu by members of al Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabaab.

A message posted on the al-Jihad al-Alami forum said they were killed "by an unjust raid by the Emir of the Shabaab al-Mujahideen Movement and his followers in Islamic Bay and Bakool province after clashes that lasted for several hours while they defended themselves," according to a translation by the SITE intelligence group.

Hammami, a former Al-Shabaab fighter and prolific English-language propagandist for the group with a $5 million American bounty on his head, went into hiding after falling out with the group last year.

Hammami – who also goes by the name Abu Mansour al Amriki – has been falsely reported killed in the past and CNN cannot independently confirm his death.

However John Berger, an American terrorism expert who has closely tracked Hammami and has recently communicated with him extensively online, believes that the latest reports are credible.

"I'm pretty sure it's true. I saw it from sources close to Hammami and also from the Shabaab side, which hasn't happened before," Berger told CNN.

The United States was working to confirm the report.

"We have seen reports that Omar Al-Hammami, also known as "Al-Amriki," was killed in Somalia, and we are working to verify the reports," a State Department official said.

Hammami released a bizarre internet video in March 2012 claiming the group was trying to assassinate him due to what he explained were "some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the sharia and matters of strategy."

One of his grievances appears to have been that he was passed over for promotion.

Hammami's 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.

Following the release of his video, he railed against several high ranking figures in Al Shabaab, including its leader Moktar Abu Zubayr, on his Twitter account, in a self-published autobiography he released online, and in a series of online exchanges with Berger.

He alleged that Al Shabaab leaders lived extravagant lifestyles from taxes imposed on Somalis, treated foreign fighters poorly, and lacked ambition to fight Jihad globally.

He even accused Zubayr of having engineered the shooting of Fazul Mohammed, al Qaeda's leading operative in east Africa, by directing him to a Somali government checkpoint in Mogadishu where he was killed in June 2011.

These accusations became a growing irritant to Al Shabaab.

In January Hammami tweeted the group had issued an ultimatum that he surrender or be killed. In April, he posted a picture of himself with what he claimed was a gunshot wound in his neck from an attempted assassination attempt.

By then, he had aligned himself with Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a powerful member of Al Shabaab's old guard and former head of the Islamic Courts Union, a militia which briefly took over much of Somalia in 2006.

In June, Aweys surrendered to Somali authorities after reportedly defecting from the group after losing out in a power struggle with the younger and more harline Zubayr.

Al Shabab has increasingly turned its guns inward since it was pushed out of Mogadishu and the lucrative port city of Kismayo after an offensive by Kenyan and Somali government troops.

One of the sources of internal disagreement was Zubayr's decision to formally merge Al Shabaab with al Qaeda in February 2012 which caused discomfort to some powerful figures in Al Shabaab, including Aweis. Rivalry between different clans also increased tensions within the group.

Despite losing ground, Al Shabaab has remained a threat inside Somalia.

Last week, it claimed responsibility for bombing a restaurant in Mogadishu popular with westerners killing more than a dozen people.

Several Americans are still believed to belong to the group. These include Jehad Serwan Mostafa, who also has a $5 million U.S. price tag on his head and who sources tell CNN has risen to a leadership position in the group.

Hammami gave an interview last week to Voice of America's Somali service in which he renewed his attack on Zubayr. It may have been the final straw for Al Shabaab's commander.

Hammami not only claimed Zubayr was trying to have him killed but depicted him as an oppressor of Muslims.

Hammami said in the interview that he was hiding in a forested area after Al Shabaab fighters arrested both of his wives and killed a person who had arranged a safe house for them.

"I'm openly not from Shabaab, I'm openly not from al-Qaeda, but I'm definitely a terrorist," he said, adding he would only come back to the United States "in a body bag."

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Filed under: Al-Shabaab • Somalia
soundoff (65 Responses)
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  6. Ramy

    How could you dedicate your life into the theft of other people's life. who live by the sword will die by it Said the Lord. and this is what happen to this ludicrous. America with all its diversity does not hold any grudge when it comes to muslims we cherich their presence on our land but when you start acting up like this kid we will put a boot in your ass cause its the American way.... Its sad to see young man wasting their lives for an Evil cause...

    September 23, 2013 at 4:04 pm | Reply
  7. Hey Rocky!!!

    Hey Rocky!! Watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!!! Oops, must be the wrong hat!!! (Look at the above picture. It looks like Bullwinkle!!!! Hahahahahah)

    September 16, 2013 at 3:46 pm | Reply
  8. ColoradoDad

    Just wondering here... but has anyone ever thought that perhaps some of these "American Jihadis" are US spies infiltrating the terrorist networks? Which could possibly explain why their own groups killed them? Not saying this guy was, because no one but the highest levels of government would know this truth. Just something to think about.

    September 16, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • hspottiescognite

      I think that if we have to consider all the possibilities of everything in life as more than it is then we would all go mad. Then we could come up with questions like, perhaps america was never going to attack syria anyway since they had an agreement worked out in advance with russia to propose a solution so that both sides save face in case chemical attack while removing the chemicals from the battlefield. Or that Iran was never an enemy of America since America and Iran has an understanding that ramping up tension is great for weapons production and sales and Iran is selling secrets to America about allies that confide in them. So American looks like they are protecting the world and Iran has the support of their civilians against the evil Americans. Or the supposed leaks about the NSA is staged to reveal a bit of the reach the NSA has, while hiding the big truth. Give someone a bit of truth to satisfy them as if it is a big revelation to keep the actual big secret safe. Anyway, you could seriously go mental thinking of all possibilities.

      September 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  9. EX muslim

    Islam is cancer to humanity and every muslim is culprit of being dehumanised terrorist, islam must be rejected in all of its forms, there is no such thing as moderate muslim or secular muslim, islam is enemy of humanity in every form, it may be zakaria or miss usa 2010

    September 16, 2013 at 11:46 am | Reply
    • ColoradoDad

      So is ALL regligion. PERIOD!

      September 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Reply
    • spine&brains

      Miss America 2013 is of Indian origin and a hindu. You are a bigoted, uneducated moron.

      September 17, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Reply
  10. lewtwo

    American jihadi reportedly killed in Somalia. Praise Alha.

    September 15, 2013 at 10:47 pm | Reply
  11. chris

    Poor guy lured into terrorism only to get death from the group for which he had sacrificed his all things. He is definitely someone who was misguided. He could not analyze that his choice would only increase the brutality practiced by criminals in the name of this thing or that thing. A person who has such son is the most unhappy creature in the earth.
    He could not choose the correct path.
    A couple of months ago I had read this guy's father's interview where he feared the incidents which now occurred.
    No punishment is sufficient for those criminals who would lure innocent youths or kids to wage " Jihad " for their vested interests.

    September 15, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Reply
  12. asdfghjk

    He looks like the normal hipster trash that roams around Austin, Tx or Seattle, Wa...

    September 15, 2013 at 5:08 am | Reply
    • molinyc

      or williamsburgh, brooklyn...

      September 23, 2013 at 10:13 am | Reply
    • molinyc

      or williamsburgh, brooklyn.

      September 23, 2013 at 10:14 am | Reply
  13. hspottiescognite

    Actually the first time I looked at the main picture in this article I thought he was wearing a moose hat.

    September 14, 2013 at 6:43 am | Reply
    • Boris

      Hey Natasha!!! Get Moose and Squirrel!!!

      September 17, 2013 at 11:20 am | Reply
  14. Joe

    If Obama had a son it would look like him.

    September 14, 2013 at 12:42 am | Reply
    • U.S.M.C. 1371

      Now that's funny I don't care who you are.

      September 14, 2013 at 6:05 am | Reply
  15. thom


    September 13, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply



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    September 13, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Reply
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    September 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm | Reply
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  18. George patton

    I am sure he is busy right now entertaining Allah with his creative songs.

    September 13, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      and Allah is probably scratching his head with expression on his face " What the F is that?" Who let this dumb American in my palace !!

      September 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Reply
  19. rkpar4


    September 13, 2013 at 11:21 am | Reply
  20. Phelix Unger

    He should never have written his autobiography, well at least we know how it ends.

    September 13, 2013 at 12:01 am | Reply
    • Doug Williams

      Body bag it is!

      September 13, 2013 at 1:36 am | Reply
    • Just an American

      True human islamic trash. I'm sure he's enjoying Hell.

      September 13, 2013 at 8:29 am | Reply
  21. Phelix Unger

    Al Amriki, to funny. These guys have great imaginations I mean how did they get that name? It probably took weeks. He more than likely had a secret hideout with a big sign that said secret hideout. One less poser to worry about, they really do have to find the recruiter though and then make him disappear.

    September 12, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Reply
  22. Frthjl Ytyukl

    You must be to young too remember when it was 40 virgins and before that it was 20 virgins. Terrorists love too lie and be lied too just think of Putin.

    September 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  23. Arya Dharma

    "some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the sharia and matters of strategy."

    Looks like Al-Amriki can finally find the truth about the number of promised virgins ( Is it 70 or 72 seems to be burning disagreement between Jihadis)

    September 12, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Reply
  24. Ric S

    Good riddance to bad rubbish.May he rot in hell.

    September 12, 2013 at 9:42 pm | Reply
  25. Piano Palyer

    Jihadi Muslim loser.

    September 12, 2013 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  26. George patton

    well sounds like it was a case of dog killed by dogs. Did they eat his heart?

    September 12, 2013 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  27. Aaron

    He was probably killed when they found out he was a CIA operative posing as a terrorist.

    September 12, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Reply
    • giggig

      exactly...–this is how it klooks like !

      September 13, 2013 at 12:35 am | Reply
  28. Guest

    Yeaaaa! Rot in hell.

    September 12, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Reply
  29. Betty

    Leave 'im there to rot, no body bag, no grave, vermin gotta eat too

    September 12, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Reply
    • George patton

      no reason to worry; his body is probably eaten already by his starving Somali friends.

      September 12, 2013 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  30. Portland tony

    What's a "notable jihadist", as stated in the article"

    September 12, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  31. Bob Washburn

    I'm openly not from Shabaab, I'm openly not from al-Qaeda, but I'm definitely a terrorist," he said, adding he would only come back to the United States "in a body bag.


    September 12, 2013 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • M

      Except his family won't bring him back for burial.

      September 13, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Reply
  32. Jim


    September 12, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Reply

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