Terrorist group claims Twin Cities men among attackers at Kenya mall


The terrorist group that says it's behind the deadly siege of a shopping mall in Kenya claims two of the attackers are Twin Cities men, although the report has been called into question.

As NBC reports, officials emphasize the investigation into the ongoing incident is in its early stages and the claims made by al-Shabab were not immediately confirmed.

But in a Twitter feed that was subsequently shut down, al-Shabab reportedly identified nine men involved in the attack that killed at least 68 people. The names included Ahmed Mohamed Isse, 22, of St. Paul, and Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, of Minneapolis.

The report has been called into question. The Star Tribune reports that Jason Straziuso, an Associated Press correspondent in East Africa, tweeted that the names were not real and had come from a fake Twitter account.

NBC's report says the Kenyan military pushed to recapture the mall on Sunday. While most hostages had been freed, some were still being held. President Obama contacted Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and pledged support for the effort to bring the attackers to justice.

In the past, al-Shabab leaders have vowed to hit U.S. targets, and ABC reports officials in this country are concerned their American recruits could help the terrorist group accomplish that goal.

Minneapolis has been fertile recruiting ground for al-Shabab. Last month the group released a video featuring three Minnesotans encouraging young men to join the group in its Somalia campaign. By the time the video was released, all three had been killed -- "martyred," in al-Shabab's parlance -- in terrorist attacks.

The FBI says Minneapolis has been the site of one of the largest efforts to recruit U.S. fighters to a terrorist group, with more than 20 leaving the city to join al-Shabab since 2007. Last spring one Minneapolis man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for aiding a terrorist group.

KARE 11 talks to Abdirizak Bihi, a Minneapolis community activist, who says propaganda videos and recruiters target Somali youth in Minnesota lost between cultures.

But Bihi tells KARE that the names of the two men, Keenadiid and Isse, were not listed in a database he keeps of missing Somali youth believed to be recruited by al-Shabab.

Census numbers show more than 85,000 Somalis live in the Twin Cities area, which NBC says is second only to Mogadishu among metropolitan areas.

On Sunday the uncle of one of the young Minneapolis men killed in Somalia told CNN the community must work to counteract the propaganda of terrorist recruiters. "What we have learned for the last five years is we have to speak out against this," Abdirizak Bihi said.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-07-26 at 9.03.38 AM

Two women sitting on park bench struck by car suffer 'substantial injuries'

The two women were were reportedly sitting on a bench when a car left the road and crashed into them.

BMTN intro vid

BMTN launches weekly Vikings livestream with Purple Insider's Matthew Coller

Coller and his Purple Insider team will talk everything Vikings, and take questions from viewers.

huge hail

Baseball-sized hail possible with severe storms Monday in Minnesota

It could be a bumpy afternoon and night in some areas.

Mack Motzko

State of Hockey pays tribute Mack Motzko after his tragic death at age 20

As is customary, hockey families have left sticks outside front doors with a light on to honor Motzko.


Three motorcyclists injured in Red Wing crash

The crash occurred at the intersection of Aspen Avenue and Highway 61.

Cameron Champ

Final round helps Cameron Champ win 3M Open

Champ picked up his third career victory on Sunday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2021-07-25 at 1.08.41 PM

Clinton elevator fire prompts evacuation in western Minnesota

A massive blaze could be seen from far away Sunday.