Tuesday 23 January 2018

Jihadi tweets of 'bid to kill me'

American jihadi Omar Hammami posted this picture on twitter, after what he says was a failed bid to kill him (AP/Internet)
American jihadi Omar Hammami posted this picture on twitter, after what he says was a failed bid to kill him (AP/Internet)

A most-wanted American jihadi in Somalia has tweeted pictures of himself after what he says was an assassination attempt.

Omar Hammami posted four pictures, one of which shows his face with blood on his neck and a dark blood-stained t-shirt. He says he was shot while sitting in a tea shop and blames the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab which he fell out with.

Hammami, one of the two most notorious Americans in overseas jihadi groups, moved from Alabama to Somalia and joined al-Shabab in about 2006. He fought alongside the al-Qaida-linked group for years while gaining fame for posting YouTube videos of jihadi rap songs.

But Hammami has engaged in a public fight with the group over the last year amid signs of increasing tension between Somalis and foreign fighters in the group.

He first expressed fear for his life in an extraordinary web video in March 2012 that publicised his rift with al-Shabab. He said he received another death threat earlier this year that was not carried out.

"Just been shot in neck by shabab assassin. not critical yet," Hammami tweeted. He wrote that the leader of al-Shabab was sending in forces from multiple directions. "we are few but we might get back up. abu zubayr has gone mad. he's starting a civil war," Hammami posted.

Hammami has been a thorn in the side of al-Shabab after accusing the group's leaders of living extravagant lifestyles with the taxes fighters collect from Somali residents. Another Hammami grievance is that the Somali militant leaders sideline foreign militants inside al-Shabab and are concerned only about fighting in Somalia, not globally. Hammami's comment about a civil war could refer to violence between those two groups.

Al-Shabab criticised Hammami publicly in a December internet statement, saying his video releases are the result of personal grievances that stem from a "narcissistic pursuit of fame." The statement said al-Shabab was morally obligated to stamp out his "obstinacy."

Hammami has enemies on all sides. The US named Hammami to its Most Wanted terrorist list in March and is offering a five million dollar (£3.2 million) reward for information leading to his capture. Al-Shabab fighters are not eligible for the reward.

Along with Adam Gadahn in Pakistan - a former Osama bin Laden spokesman - Hammami is one of the two most notorious Americans in jihad groups. He grew up in Daphne, Alabama. He is the son of a Christian mother and a Syrian-born Muslim father.

Press Association

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