WASHINGTON (AFP) – American-born Islamic militant Omar Hamami remains committed to waging jihad against US interests, he said in an interview published on Thursday, despite a $5 million bounty that Washington placed on his head.
Hamami, who has parted ways with fellow Al-Shebab militants in Somalia, told the Danger Room website that he nevertheless remains committed to armed struggle against the United States.
“I believe in attacking US interests everywhere,” he told Danger Room in a running dialogue on Twitter. “No 2nd thoughts and no turning back.”
Nicknamed “the rapping jihadist” for his work enlisting Shebab recruits through his English-language rap songs and videos, Hamami, 28, is a former resident of Alabama who moved to Somalia in 2006.
Also known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki or “the American,” Hamami late last year announced his split from the insurgents, who he says now want to kill him.
Now the most prominent American jihadi left alive, Hamami told Danger Room that he is aware “my life may be in danger” as Washington targets Islamist militants overseas, including those with US citizenship.
Tweeting from an undisclosed location in Somalia, the militant — who now spends his days online denouncing his former Islamist colleagues as corrupt — refers to himself as the “former poster boy” of the group.
He told Danger Room that he also spends his time in Somalia growing vegetables, helping his wives around the house, and trolling his former Shebab colleagues on Twitter, under the handle @abumamerican.
Born in 1984 to a Syrian Muslim immigrant father and a white Protestant mother, Hamami was raised as a Christian but began to feel estranged from his upbringing as teenager before moving to Somalia.
Hamami was indicted in 2009 by an Alabama district court for providing support to a terrorist organization, and two years later he was placed on a US Treasury blacklist freezing all his assets in the United States. In November, his name was posted on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list.
He and another militant, Jehad Mostafa, last month were named under the State Department’s Rewards for Justice program for their ties to the Al-Qaeda linked Shebab.
He served as a military commander under Mostafa, a former resident of San Diego, California, who left for Somalia in 2005.