News: Somali-American pleads guilty to helping Al-Shabaab

From NPR news, by Dina Temple-Raston:

Another Minneapolis man has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in connection with a broader case looking into the disappearance of more than two dozen young Somali-Americans from Minnesota over the past two years.

Kamal Said Hassan pleaded guilty in a Minneapolis court Wednesday. The unsealed indictment in his case shows that he was one of a handful of young men who traveled to Somalia to fight for a militia there called al-Shabab. When Hassan returned to the U.S., he apparently lied to the FBI about where he had been. He is in now U.S. custody.

This is the third indictment in the case so far, as federal investigators close in on suspects they believe have recruited the young men to fight with al-Shabab. The State Department put al-Shabab on its list of terrorist organizations last year. U.S. intelligence officials say its top leadership has ties to al-Qaida, though they are quick to add that al-Qaida’s sway over al-Shabab’s actions is limited. …

Recruiters appear to have played on the young men’s ties to their homeland — and their sense of adventure — to get them to go. At the time the first recruits are thought to have left, Ethiopian troops had invaded Somalia to crush the Islamic Courts Union. The group’s pitch to the young men was that they had to save their homeland from invaders.

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