Somali advocate: Terrorists recruiting in Seattle

Somali advocate: Terrorists recruiting in Seattle »Play Video
In this image made from video released Sunday, Sept. 20, 2009 by the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab, militia members participate in a training camp in Somalia.
SEATTLE -- The local man reportedly involved in the deadly suicide bombing in Mogadishu last week was a man and his 20s who left Seattle in 2007, according to a prominent spokesman for Somali-Americans.

Omar Jamal, executive director of the Somali Justice Advocacy Center in Minnesota, says the young man was actively recruited by terrorists in Seattle who look for impressionable young men to fight overseas. Jamal has been tracking terrorist groups for years.

"There's high rate of high school dropouts. There's a high rate of unemployment. The economy is bad. And under those circumstances, they become very vulnerable," he said.

The man's parents are in disbelief over speculations he may be linked to a terrorist organization, Jamal said.

"They heard the news and they're waiting for confirmation," he said. "So far, they're being advised he's not alive anymore."

The FBI refused to comment on the details of the case, and only said it is looking into the reported Seattle connection.

But if the reports turn out to be true, the man would be the third person to be recruited by a terror organization in Seattle.

In July, Roosevelt High School graduate Abddifatah Yusef Isse was indicted for recruiting young men to fight overseas.

Ruben Shumpert, a South Seattle barber, was arrested on a gun charge in Seattle. Then late last year, he was reported killed in a rocket attack near Mogadishu.

The FBI says both Isse and Shumpert were recruited by Somali terror group al-Shabab, which has ties to al-Qaida, according to U.S. intelligence officials.

"They are sent to a training camp and they are subjected to an extreme form of brainwashing," said Jamal.

Jamal said the most recent bombing suspect also had family members living in Minneapolis. And according to the FBI, 20 men have disappeared from Minneapolis, and some of them later turned up dead in Somalia for al-Shabab.