Abdisalan Hussein Ali, who attended the University of Minnesota as recently as fall 2008, is believed be the man who blew himself up in a suicide mission in Somalia Saturday.
The attack, against an African Union base in Somalian capital Mogadishu, killed 10. ItâÄôs the third time a Minnesotan has been involved in such an attack.
Ali, a U.S. citizen known by friends in Minneapolis as âÄúBullethead,âÄù was 19 when he left Minnesota in November 2008. He had graduated from Edison High School in Minneapolis the year before. At the time of his disappearance, his family told reporters he was studying health care at the University.
According to a Minneapolis police report, AliâÄôs cousin and mother reported him missing a day after he left home to pray and go to school âÄî his normal routine âÄî but didnâÄôt come home.
The family told police Abdisalan may have gotten on a plane and left, but at the time didnâÄôt know why.
The FBI is in the process of trying to obtain DNA samples for testing to confirm the suicide bomber was Ali.
AliâÄôs friends are divided over whether an al-Shabab recording that encourages âÄújihadâÄù includes his voice.
Russom Solomon, who chairs the West Bank Community CoalitionâÄôs safety committee, said he hopes the news doesnâÄôt bring more negativity to the Cedar-Riverside community, where many Minneapolis Somalis live.
Those that left for Somalia were âÄúbrainwashed,âÄù he said.
University student Salma Hussein has said sheâÄôs felt hostility toward the community because of the incidents.
âÄú[Ali] made a choice to bomb himself,âÄù she said. âÄúIt just doesnâÄôt make sense that we have to pay for the consequences for his action.âÄù
âÄúPeople lump us all together and create stereotypes of a community that really is trying its best to contribute to their new home,âÄù she said.
In 2009, former University student Mohamoud Hassan, who had also left to join al-Shabab, was killed in Somalia.
At least 21 Somali-Americans are believed to have left Minneapolis to join al-Shabab.
Over the past three years, Minnesota has been the center of a federal investigation into the recruitment of people from the U.S. to train or fight with al-Shabab in Somalia, which hasnâÄôt had a functioning government since 1991.
Shirwa Ahmed, 26, also of Minneapolis, became the first known American suicide bomber in Somalia when he blew himself up in October 2008 in the northern breakaway republic of Somaliland, as part of a series of coordinated explosions that killed 21 people. On May 30 of this year, Farah Mohamed Beledi, 27, of St. Paul, was one of two suicide bombers who carried out an attack in Mogadishu. Beledi was shot before he could detonate his suicide vest.