From the Associated Press:
NAIROBI, Kenya — The October al-Qaida video shows a light-skinned man handing out food to families displaced by famine in Somalia. But the masked man is not Somali, or even African — he’s a Wisconsin native who grew up in San Diego.
A handful of young Muslims from the U.S. are taking high-visibility propaganda and operational roles inside an al-Qaida-linked insurgent force in Somalia known as al-Shabab. While most are from Minnesota, which has the largest Somali population in the nation, al-Shabab members include a Californian and an Alabaman with no ancestral ties to Somalia.
“They are being deployed in roles that appear to be shrewdly calculated to raise al-Shabab’s international profile and to recruit others, especially those from the United States and other English-speaking countries,” said Anders Folk, a former assistant U.S. attorney who prosecuted suspected al-Shabab supporters in Minnesota.
With the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks approaching, San Diego political and law enforcement officials Wednesday launched a campaign to warn residents to look for signs of terrorist planning.
“Al Qaeda and others have always had a fascination with significant dates in history,” Keith Slotter, special agent in charge of the San Diego office of the FBI, said at a news conference. Continue reading