Reports: al-Shabab militant from Minneapolis encouraged attack at Texas contest


A Minneapolis man may be connected to an attack at a cartoon contest in Garland, Texas, for which the Islamic State militant group has since claimed responsibility.

This was the first ISIS attack on United States soil.

Days before Sunday's attack, which injured a security guard and left the two gunmen dead, a terror suspect from Minneapolis and others took to Twitter to encourage the attack against the contest, which featured cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, MPR News and WCCO are reporting.

Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, a 25-year-old from Minneapolis who is widely known as Mujahid Miski on social media, was formally a student at Roosevelt High School, MPR notes. In 2008, at age 17, he left Minneapolis to join al-Shabaab in Somalia, and was indicted on terror charges the following year.

He's believed to still be in Somalia, WCCO says.

Using social media, he has called out to his "brothers" to carry out various attacks. MPR says on April 23 he tweeted:

"The brothers from the Charlie Hebdo attack did their part. It's time for brothers in the #US to do their part," and included a link to the Texas cartoon contest.

Earlier this year, gunmen in the attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine killed 12 people. The magazine is known for its cartoons that often depict Muhammad.

Hassan had also recently communicated with Elton Simpson – one of the two gunmen in the Texas attack – through Twitter, WCCO says.

The FBI told MPR News it is aware of his alleged communication with the gunmen, but didn't provide any more details. He has not been charged in relation to this incident.

Hassan's Twitter account – like many of his previous accounts – has been suspended.

The Counter Extremism Project's David Ibsen has called Hassan one of the most influential terror recruiters on Twitter, MPR and WCCO note.

Hassan, although part of al-Shabab, is a supporter of ISIS, and has been accused of helping recruit other Minnesotans to join the militant group, reports note.

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