In a March 2009 video Hammami was seen on camera praising a terrorist who died during an ambush and appears on camera saying in English, "We need more like him, so if you can encourage more of your children and more of your neighbors and anyone around you to send people like him to this jihad, it would be a great asset for us."
Hammami had been the president of his sophomore high school class in the small town of Daphne, Alabama but became radical in his views and dropped out of college in 2002. Hammami moved frequently, living briefly in Canada and then Egypt before joining Al Shabaab in Somalia.
The continuing conflict in Somalia and Al Shabaab's apparent desire to carry attacks outside of Somalia has many officials concerned about the reach of the terror group. A State Department report released last year mentioned the concern about the training camps in the country, "[Shabaab's] leaders have founded and support a number of training camps in southern Somalia for young national and international recruits to Al Shabaab. In these camps, Al Qaeda-affiliated foreign fighters often lead the training and indoctrination of the recruits."