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American Involved in Al Shabaab Suicide Attack

Posted: June 10, 2011

One of two suicide bombers who attacked a military base in Mogadishu was an American citizen from Minnesota, according to the FBI.


Farah Mohamad Beledi, a 27-year-old from Minneapolis, attacked the base with at least one other Al Shabaab militant on May 30, 2011. The FBI confirmed Beledi’s identity through fingerprint analysis.


Two African Union peacekeepers and a Somali soldier were killed in the attack.


Beledi was born in Somalia and moved to the U.S. when he was 12. He was one of 14 people indicted in July 2010 with providing material support to terrorists for their various connections to Al Shabaab, an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist organization based in Somalia. He and four others allegedly traveled to Somalia in 2008 and 2009.


An audio statement released by Al Shabaab on June 2, 2011, identified another man, Abdullahi Ahmed, as the bomber. While the FBI has not confirmed the identity of the second bomber, a Somali official said that Ahmed is Cabdullahi Ahmed Faarax, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Minneapolis who was last seen in October 2009 at the U.S.-Mexico border crossing and who was also charged in the July 2010 indictment. 


A portion of the Al Shabaab audio statement featured an English speaker saying, “I have been a member of Al Shabaab for two years. I am from Minnesota, USA,” and “I am so happy to turn my body into shrapnel for the infidels.”


A wave of Americans have traveled to Somalia to fight with Al Shabaab since 2007, around the time the group stepped up its insurgency against Somalia’s transitional governments and its Ethiopian supporters. These Americans have received weapons training alongside recruits from other countries, including Britain, Australia, Sweden and Canada. The recruits have used the training to fight against Ethiopian forces, African Union troops, and the internationally-supported Transitional Federal Government in Somalia, according to court documents. 


Beledi is the second confirmed American suicide bomber. The first, Shirwa Ahmed, carried out a suicide bombing at the Ethiopian Consulate and the presidential palace in Hargeisa killing 24 people in October 2009.  Federal investigators have also looked into reports about whether another American was involved in a suicide attack in Mogadishu in September 2009 that killed 21 people. The identity of that attacker has never been confirmed.  

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