Somali Defense Minister Abdihakim Mohamud Haji Fiqi has reported the death of American terrorist Omar Hammami in recent battles, as African peacekeepers and Somali government forces ramp up their attack on al-Shabaab. The goal of the new offensive is to advance the Transitional Federal Government’s power, before its mandate to rule expires in August.
“We have information saying that he died,” stated Defense Minister Fiqi. “I’m not 100 percent sure but this is the information that we get from different sources. We need to make sure.” Hammami, raised in Daphne, Alabama, joined al-Shabaab in 2007 and became a major recruiter and commander for the Islamist militia. His death would be a major blow to the group, whose forces control large areas of southern and central Somalia but are unpopular for imposing a harsh form of Sharia law.
Heavy casualties have been reported amongst African AMISOM forces and government troops, a relatively light cost as several key border towns and areas of the capital fell to their advance. The most recent fighting has been accompanied by a war of words, with East African nations threatening the militia and pledging to protect their nations and Somalia’s president predicting the group’s downfall. Al-Shabaab responded in kind, calling for Muslims in East Africa to rise up, carry out terror attacks, and overthrow the “Christian” governments of the region.