Omar Hammami, better known as Abu Monsoor Al-Almriki ("the American"), has reportedly been shot dead in the southern bay area of Somalia. Hammami has been reported dead on numerous occasions, but close contact and terrorism expert J.M. Berger believes that reports of Hammami's death this time are accurate.
Hammami left his hometown of Daphne, Alabama in 2006 to pursue a life as a self-proclaimed terrorist in Somalia in 2006. There, Hammami joined the al-Qaeda linked terrorist group al-Shabab. While Hammami did help organize military operations and actively fought for the rebels, he served mainly as a recruiting tool to pull foreigners into al-Shabab, mainly through his use of rap and social media. Hammami's online presence gave him the nickname the "Rapping Jihadist":
Hammami had been fearing for his life for months now, after falling out with the leaders of al-Shabab. In April of 2012, Hammami tweeted that he had been shot in the neck by assassins sent by Godane, al-Shabab's leader. Leaders of al-Shabab were upset with Hammami due to his criticism concerning their use of tax money collected from Somalis and Hammami's criticism that Godane was oppressing Muslims in order to simply win control of Somalia . Those factors, coupled with growing antagonism toward foreign militants, are perhaps what led to al-Shabab hunting Hammami down and killing him.
Hammami has been on America's Most Wanted Terrorists list since March and had a $5 million reward for information leading to his whereabouts. Along with Adam Gadahn, a former bin Laden spokesman in Pakistan, Hammami is considered the most dangerous Americans in a jihad group due to his wide sphere of influence and connections.
Earlier this month, Hammami appeared to make positive steps by denouncing his ties with al-Shabab and al-Qaeda. However, when asked if he would be willing to talk to US officials, Hammami said the following: "I'm openly not from Shabab, I'm openly not from al-Qaida, but I'm definitely a terrorist, so they're just going to end up changing my sentence from being affiliated with al-Qaida to being affiliated with terrorism, so it doesn't really matter whether I speak or not."
In an interview with Voice of America, Hammami was also asked whether or not he would ever return to the US. Hammami replied "that is not an option unless it's in a body bag." It looks like he is going to get his wish.
Image via YouTube