Wednesday, November 14, 2012
American-born Islamist militant Omar Hammami, also known as Abu Mansur al-Amriki, speaks during a news conference held by the militant group al-Shabab at a farm in southern Mogadishu's Afgoye district in Somalia, May 11, 2011. (Farah Abdi Warsameh/AP Photo)
WASHINGTON — An American whom the U.S. government believes to be operating with terrorists in Somalia has been added to the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists.
The FBI on Wednesday placed on its list Omar Shafik Hammami, formerly of Alabama. Officials believe Hammami is a senior leader in the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabab, which has links to al-Qaida. He faces charges in Alabama of providing material support to terrorists. The FBI also added to the list a Filipino man who officials say is the head of a local terror group and was involved in the 1993 kidnapping of an American in the Philippines.
There are currently 31 people on the list.
The recent additions represent an administrative update and is less a signal of any new, urgent need to find these men, officials said. The list was created one month after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and nominations to the list are made through the FBI’s counterterrorism division. A person must be under criminal indictment to be placed on the list.
Hammami has long been a concern among U.S. counterterrorism officials because of his reach with English-speaking audiences and ability to inspire Americans to engage in terrorism. In May, the 28-year-old wrote in an online autobiography that he had a privileged childhood in Alabama before he joined the al-Qaida linked militants. He said his bad temperament runs in his family and that he showed anger to his teachers when he was in kindergarten. Earlier this year, Hammami said he thought his life was in danger because of disagreements with other militants.
Hammami’s father, who lives in Daphne, Ala., said his son’s addition to the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists is out of his hands.
“I cannot say anything or do anything to change the situation,” Shafik Hammami said.
Also Wednesday, the FBI added an Afghani man to its list of people about whom the bureau is seeking information. The FBI wants to talk to Shaykh Aminullah because of his ties to the Pakistan-based terror organization, Lashkar-e-Tayyiba. Officials have no information about Aminullah regarding specific planning of attacks on Americans, FBI spokeswoman Lindsay Godwin said. Aminullah has not been charged in the U.S. with any crimes. In 2009, he was placed on the Treasury Department’s list of designated terrorists, blocking any assets he has in the U.S. and banning Americans from doing business with him.