MINNEAPOLIS — A man who blew himself up in an attack that killed at least 10 people in Somalia on Saturday may have been a U.S. citizen from Minneapolis who returned to Somalia three years ago, several Minnesotans with Somali ties said Sunday.
Before the attack, the man made an audiotape posted by the Somali militant group al-Shabab in which he urged other young people not to “just chill all day” and to instead fight nonbelievers. The website Somalimemo.net posted the tape, saying the bomber, whom al-Shabab identified as Somali-American Abdisalan Taqabalahullaah, emigrated to the United States when he was 2.
In Minneapolis, Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali mission to the United Nations, said Sunday that he has heard from five community members who listened to the tape and identified the bomber as Abdisalan Ali, 22, a Minnesotan missing since fall 2008 whose nickname was “Bullethead.”
Jamal said Ali graduated from Edison High School in Minneapolis, where he lifted weights and sold shoes out of his locker to make money to support his family, which still lives in Minneapolis. He also attended the University of Minnesota for a time.
If authorities verify his identity, he would become the third identified Minnesotan to have died as a suicide bomber in Somalia. About 20 young men from Minnesota are thought to have traveled to that war-torn nation in the last few years to join the fighting, and Ali’s death would mark the 10th death of a Minnesotan there.
Jamal said he heard the audiotape by the man, whom he says came to Minneapolis as a young child and returned to Somalia, where he married. He said Ali’s parents, whom he declined to identify, have said they don’t want to comment on the suicide bombing.
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