Ex-South Alabama Student Charged as Somali Terrorist

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

A former south Alabama man among those charged with supporting terrorism in Somalia grew up in a middle-class home in Daphne, Ala., and attended the University of South Alabama.

Federal officials in Washington announced Thursday that a man known in Somalia as Abu Mansour al-Amriki, or "the American," was among those charged. He grew up as Omar Hammami in Baldwin County.

At South Alabama, he was president of the Muslim Student Association nine years ago. The 26-year-old Hammami enrolled at the university in 2001 but left in 2002. School officials said they have been unaware of his whereabouts since then.

Hammami's father Shafik is an engineer with the state highway department who also has served as president of the Islamic Society of Mobile.

Shafik Hammami confirmed his relationship to Omar Hammami in e-mail exchanges with The Associated Press earlier this year but declined further comment.

Attorney General Eric Holder Thursday announced that 14 people were indicted and charged with providing support for the terrorist group al-Shabab in Somalia.

People were arrested in Minnesota, California and Alabama. Officials say most of the people are U.S. citizens, with some supporting the organization from the United States and others traveling to Somalia to do so.

Arrests were made overnight near Minneapolis and Los Angeles based on indictments by a grand jury on charges of providing material support to a terrorist group.

Federal prosecutors say defendants, in part, are accused of raising money door to door for al-Shabab, claiming it was for charity.

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