2014-10-31
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Minneapolis men who fought and died with Somali militia used in recruitment video

The New Haven Register, local news, sports and weather serving New Haven, CT

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Three Minneapolis men who went to fight, and later die, with a Somali Islamist milita were the subject of a propaganda recruitment video released by the organization Thursday.

A man identified as Mohamud Hassan is featured in a new al-Shabaab recruitment video posted to YouTube Thursday, August 8, 2013. Hassan is allegedly one of three Minneapolis men in the video who traveled to Somalia and died fighting there.



The FBI called it a "propaganda piece" recruitment video and attributed it to al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida-endorsed militia in Somalia, said Special Agent Kyle Loven, chief division counsel in Minneapolis.

He said it's one in a line of recruitment videos posted by the terrorist groupm but differs in its improved production values.

"Obviously, it's an attempt to step up recruitment efforts," he said. "As far as the video itself, I think it's just an attempt to glorify and make it more appealing to young men."

Titled "The Path to Paradise: From the Twin Cities to the Land of Two Migrations," the nearly 40-minute post allegedly details the travels of Dahir Gure, Muhammad Al-Amriki and Mohamud Hassan to Somalia over 2007 and 2008.

In one segment, Al-Amriki, born Troy Kastigar, likened his experiences to being at an amusement park.

"If you guys only knew how much fun we have over here, this is the real Disneyland," he said. "You need to come here and join us, and take pleasure in this fun."

A man identified as Muhammad Al-Amriki is featured in a new al-Shabaab recruitment video posted to YouTube Thursday, August 8, 2013. Al-Amriki, also known as Troy Kastigar, is allegedly one of three Minneapolis men in the video who traveled to Somalia and died fighting there.



Eventually, he and Hassan are pictured next to each other, shrouded and dead.

The video was pulled from the video sharing site Thursday, Loven said, but a new version was available Friday morning.

Loven would not confirm the identities of the men featured in the video or whether men with their names had traveled to Somalia.

During the trial of former janitor Mohamud Said Omar in 2012, federal prosecutors listed the three as "killed in Somalia according to open news sources."

Omar was convicted of aiding Somali terrorists in October.

In the video, a narrator speaks of the frustration the three men felt living in Minneapolis' Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, which he calls "Little Mogadishu." Images of downtown Minneapolis are displayed as he talks.

"And when the siren of jihad that was blaring out from battlefields of Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia reached their ears, it was simply too melodious to ignore," he said.

Scenes of U.S. troops detaining people, along with dead children and adults, play as the narrator continues.

"In their crusade against Islam, the disbelievers unleashed their venom across the globe," he said.

It goes on to detail when each man left the West and made their way to Somali to fight.

Gure left in October 2007, and Al-Amriki and Hassan left from the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in November 2008.

Footage shot from the inside of a car shows parts of Bloomington, including IKEA, and a handheld shot later leads viewers through the airport.

The video also talks in detail about the circumstances under each man's death — all died in gun battles, according to the video: Gure in June 2009, Al-Amriki and Hassan in September 2009.





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