American-born terrorist Omar Hammami gave an extensive radio interview with Voice of America just nine days before he was reportedly killed in Somalia, in an ambush orchestrated by the al Qaeda-affiliated terror group he broke away from.
While the al Shabaab terror group did not immediately confirm his death, and he had been falsely reported dead in the past — only to reappear on Twitter — this time it looks like it’s for real.
“I think it’s very likely true based on the sources I am seeing,” J.M. Berger, who runs the website Intelwire.com, told AP.
In a 15 minute interview, Hammami showed why he was certainly a thorn in Shabaab’s side, as well as unrepetent for leaving the country of his birth to fight a jihad in Somalia. Interestingly, the Alabama-born jihadi had garnered hate from all sides.
“I’m surrounded by enemies,” he told reporter Spencer Ackerman earlier this year over Twitter. “Drones don’t have borders. Just kickin’ it with my family till then.”
While his Twitter banter between counterterrorism experts had been particularly lively in the past, his condemnation of his former terror alliance and anger over previous assassination attempts was clear in the VOA interview.
“Basically, he’s left the principles of our religion,” Hammami said of the Shabaab leader, “and he’s turned the [Shabaab organisation into one] that oppresses every single Muslim … basically he’s lost the entire principles for which we began jihad for.”
Hammani’s speech is tinged with an accent hinting of his Alabama upbringing, but he gives no illusions over what he has done. When asked if he is a terrorist, he responds rather matter-of-factly, “Well, I’m definitely a terrorist.”
His days of running with the al Shabaab terror group began in 2006 when he left Alabama for war-torn Somalia. He became the group’s chief propagandist, releasing English-language statements and rap videos on Youtube to recruit more Americans.
But there was a falling out, as group leader Abu Zubayr increasingly marginalized foreign fighters like Hammami. In March 2012, he posted a video to Youtube saying that he feared for his life.
When asked of his security situation in the interview, he said, “Definitely we don’t have enough [fighters] … but now it seems we’re going to have to try our best to gather whatever forces we can to stand in the way of this evil spreading to the rest of the Somali people.”
The 29-year-old Hammami had a $US5 million bounty on his head from the U.S. government.
Here’s the audio clip:
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