The FBI’s Most Wanted Rapping Jihadist Is Believed Dead

Alabama-born Omar Hammami was reportedly killed in Somalia by the leader of his own militant group.

Hammami addressing al-Shabaab fighters in Somalia on May 11. Feisal Omar / Reuters

Omar Hammami, a jihadist from Alabama who landed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list in 2012, has reportedly died in Somalia.

Hammami — aka Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, “The American” — was a member of al-Shabab, a Somalian al-Qaida-linked militant group. He was killed by the group’s leader, an al-Shabab member confirmed to the Associated Press on Thursday.

His death has been rumored before, but Intelwire’s J.M. Berger said the latest reports appear to be accurate.

J.M. Berger

@intelwire

Multiple, highly credible jihadi sources are reporting that Omar Hammami @abumamerican has been killed.

/ Via

It’s believed Hammami was killed on orders from Mukhtar Abu Zubeyr, aka Godane, the leader of al-Shabab whom Hammami publicly criticized. They began clashing about two years ago, Berger told the AP.

“Hammami brought a lot of unwelcome outside scrutiny on Shabab from the international jihadist community,” Berger said. “His story will likely be a case study on what can go wrong when Westerners join jihadist movements.”

Hammami, 29, was born in Daphne, Ala. He moved to Somalia in 2006 and became known for posting videos and rap tracks on YouTube. He was also active on Twitter at @abumamerican, but his tweets became less frequent after an assassination attempt in late April. One month earlier, the U.S. government had offered $5 million for his capture.

Hammami’s Syrian-born Muslim father, Shafik, told ABC News on Thursday he wasn’t yet convinced his son was dead.

“Our lives have been on a roller coaster for a long time, and we’ve been there before … We just hope that it’s not true this time,” he said. “If he indeed died, he died fighting for his principles, whatever they are.”

“I do love my son and I do have motherly love,” Hammami’s Southern Baptist mother, Debra, told ABC News last year. “If I could just touch him for five minutes, I would be thrilled.”

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Jessica Testa is a national reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Jessica Testa at jessica.testa@buzzfeed.com.
 
 

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