REPORT: Al-Shabaab Claims Three Americans Among Gunmen in Kenya MallPosted: September 22, 2013
Bridget Johnson writes: Al-Shabaab is claiming that there are American gunmen among those still holed up in the Westgate mall in a standoff with Kenyan and Israeli special forces.
The Somali al-Qaeda affiliate tweeted a series of names on its latest account before Twitter against suspended the group. Al-Shabaab has been creating new accounts each time they get shut down but a movement of pro-Kenyan tweeters has been tracking down the new accounts and complaining to Twitter.
“We received permission to disclose the names of our mujahideen inside #Westgate,” their latest account tweeted.
They proceeded to tweet the names one by one, including Ahmed Mohamed Isse, 22, “native” of St. Paul, Minn., Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, of Minneapolis, and Gen Mustafe Noorudiin, 27, of Kansas City, Mo.
Al-Shabaab recently released a PR video targeted at Somali-Americans in Minnesota, trying to lure them to jihad as more than two dozen have already done so through the state’s “terror pipeline.” Three Americans — Abdisalan Hussein Ali,Farah Mohamed Beledi and Shirwa Ahmed — from Minnesota have been suicide bombers for Al-Shabaab in Mogadishu over the past few years.
Other gunmen were named as being from locations such as Finland, Canada, the UK., Somalia and Kenya. None of the names were female, even though witnesses reported a white woman among the shooters.
That’s raised speculation about whether “White Widow” Samantha Lewthwaite, a British widow of one of the 7/7 attackers who became an al-Qaeda paymaster, is involved in the attacks. Last year she was on the run in Kenya as international authorities tried to hunt her down.
Nine names were released; authorities have said 10 to 15 gunmen are still believed to be in the mall holding around 30 hostages, including possibly children. CNN International witnessed one grief-stricken man trying to break police lines to get into the mall, claiming that his kids are still inside.
The death toll in the terrorist attack rose to 68 today. More than 175 have been wounded.
The White House released a readout of President Obama’s call with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta this morning that took the definitive step of naming Al-Shabaab as the culprits.
“President Obama called President Kenyatta of Kenya this morning to express condolences to the government and people of Kenya for the terrorist attack carried out by al-Shabaab yesterday on the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said. “President Obama reiterated U.S. support for Kenya’s efforts to bring the perpetrators of the attack to justice. The President also reaffirmed the strong and historic partnership between the United States and Kenya as well as our shared commitment to combating terrorism and promoting peace and prosperity in East Africa and around the world.”
Kenyatta, who’s been in office since March, confirmed today that his nephew and his nephew’s fiancee had been confirmed dead.
“We will punish the masterminds swiftly and painfully,” the Kenyan leader vowed.
Some reaction to the list of gunmen on a Somali online forum: “How is it possible that Al-shabab can recruit more boys from America than Kenya or Somalia? It’s as if their headquarters is in Washington D.C.”
“The FBI/CIA should go after their parents to send a message to any future recruits. The entire family should be stripped of USA/UK/Canadian citizenship and be deported to Somalia,” another Somali user wrote.