Mueller: Suicide Bomber Recruited in U.S.

FBI director: naturalized U.S. citizen carried out suicide bombing in Somalia.

ByABC News
February 23, 2009, 5:33 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 23, 2009— -- A U.S. citizen who killed himself in a suicide bomb attack in Somalia last year was actively recruited in the United States, FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed today.

"A man from Minneapolis became what we believe to be the first U.S. citizen to carry out a terrorist suicide bombing," Mueller said of Shirwa Ahmed, a naturalized U.S. citizen.

"The attack occurred last October in northern Somalia, but it appears that this individual was radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota," Mueller said.

The comments before the Council on Foreign Relations come several months after the FBI and Justice Department established a working group to look at a handful of cases where men of Somali descent returned to Somalia to fight in the ongoing conflict there.

U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials have confirmed to ABC News that some of the individuals who have fought in Somalia have returned to the United States. The FBI has looked at possible cases in Minneapolis; Boston; Columbus, Ohio; Seattle; San Diego; and Washington, D.C.

In a question and answer session moderated by ABC News' Terry Moran after his speech, Mueller said about Ahmed, "We believe he was recruited here in the United States and that others may have been radicalized."

Since last year, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security have tried to analyze what inspired the men to travel to Somalia, a country long mired in violence.

Islamic militants from the group Al Shabab have engaged in intense fighting with Ethiopian and African Union troops. U.S. officials believe the group could merge with elements of al Qaeda's east African network and further gain influence destabilizing the region.