FBI adds U.S.-born ‘rapping jihadi’ to terror wanted list
WASHINGTON — The FBI said Wednesday it had added to its list of most wanted terrorists the American “rapping jihadi,” an operative for Somalia’s Al-Qaeda linked Shebab insurgents who uses rap as a propaganda tool.
Omar Shafik Hammami, who was born in Alabama but is now thought to live in Somalia, is believed to be a senior leader of the Shebab rebels, who were placed on the US State Department’s terror blacklist in 2008.
The group has “repeatedly threatened terrorist actions against America and American interests,” the Federal Bureau of Investigations said in a statement.
Also known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki, Hammami has been releasing rap songs in English on the Internet since 2009 as a recruitment tool, although music is forbidden in Al-Qaeda’s strict interpretation of Islam.
In the songs, Hammami says he hopes to be killed by a drone strike or in a cruise missile attack so he can achieve martyrdom.
He invites young people to join the jihad to “wipe Israel off the globe,” and he encourages strikes against the US military in Afghanistan and Somalia.
Hammami, who has been indicted in the United States on various terrorism charges, has been the subject of an international arrest warrant since 2007.
Also added to the terror most wanted list Wednesday was Filipino Raddulan Sahiron, wanted for his alleged role in the kidnapping of an American in the Philippines in 1993 by the al-Qaeda-linked Islamist group Abu Sayyaf.
Sahiron is believed to be the leader of the group, which was put on the US terror blacklist in 1997, the FBI said.
The Abu Sayyaf was set up in the 1990s with seed money from Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network, according to the Philippine military, and has been blamed for that nation’s worst terrorist attacks.
These include the bombing of a passenger ferry in Manila Bay that killed over 100 people in 2004, as well as many kidnappings of foreigners and Filipinos in the Muslim-populated south of the country where it is based.
The State Department’s Rewards for Justice program is offering a reward of up to $1 million for information leading to the arrest of Sahiron, who is believed to be in the Sulu archipelago.
Sahiron was indicted in US federal court in 2007 in connection with the kidnapping of an American citizen who was held hostage for 23 days on the island of Jolo.
The FBI said it is seeking information on a third man, Shaykh Aminullah, who is suspected of providing material support to terrorists with the help of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba, designated a terrorist group in 2001.
The suspect, who is believed to be living in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, is accused of having provided support in the form of funding and recruits to the Al-Qaeda network and to the Taliban.
The FBI most wanted terrorist list was created in October 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks. The Seeking Information — Terrorism list was then created to publicize efforts to find suspects not yet charged with crimes.