South Alabama Man Charged as Somali Terrorist

By: CBS
By: CBS

The federal government has indicted 14 people on terror charges, one of them a former south Alabama man.

U.S. prosecutors say Omar Hammami is the new face of terror. Hammami is a U.S. citizen from Daphne, AL., who's emerged as an operations ringleader of the Somalia-based terror group Al Shabaab.

Hammami's internet videos are being used to recruit other Americans to the terrorist cause.

"We need more like him and if you could encourage more of your children and more of your neighbors to send people like him to this jihad it would be a great asset for us," Hammami says in one video.

The Justice Department charged Hammami and 13 others, most of them U.S. citizens, with funneling money and fighters to Somalia.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said, "We are seeing an increasing number of individuals, including U.S. citizens, who have become captivated by extremist ideology and have taken steps to carry out terrorist objectives either at home or abroad."

The twelve men indicted in the case are now on an FBI wanted poster. They are not in custody and are believed to be fighting with Al Shabaab in Somalia

Two women charged with raising money for the terror group by going door-to-door in Somali neighborhoods in Minnesota were arrested Thursday.

Minneapolis, with the nation's largest Somali population, is ground zero for Al Shabaab recruitment. Terror experts say over the past four years, some three dozen young men from that area have left the U.S. to join Al Shabaab's ranks. Families there have turned to the FBI for help.

"It's their kids that have been recruited and in some cases ended up as casualties in Somalia,” said U.S. Attorney Todd Jones. “So, parents are parents and they are very concerned."

Al Shabaab, which has links to al Qaeda, has primarily focused on regional conflicts battling for control of Somalia. But the group took credit for last month's twin bombings in Uganda that killed more than 70 world cup soccer fans.

Now, Al Shabaab is threatening to spread its violence to the west. And with so many Al Shabaab fighters carrying us passports, the threat to this country cannot be dismissed.

CBS News National Security Analyst, Juan Zarate, said, "This attack in Uganda raises that possibility more seriously than before and really does present yet another dimension of the global threat and problem that the United States faces."

U.S. officials say so far there is no evidence that Al Shabaab is planning an attack against America. And the young men who have left for the fight have not yet tried to come home.


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