US-born ‘Jihadist Next Door” Omar Hammami emerging as “the next” Anwar Awlaki: Experts

August 7th, 2010 - 5:13 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, August 7 (ANI): “The Jihadist Next Door” Omar Hammami, the Alabama-born face of an Al Qaeda-linked group in Somalia, could be evolving into “the next” Anwar Awlaki, the Arizona-born cleric living in Yemen, who is reportedly connected to the Fort Hood shootings, the failed Christmas Day bombing and the Times Square bombing attempt, according to terror experts.

Experts believe that Hammami and Awlaki are “both articulate because they are born Americans.”

Fox News quoted Rick Nelson, a senior member specializing in counter terrorism issues at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, as saying, “Hammami’s rise is disturbing because it indicates to be part of a growing trend epitomized by Awlaki.”

“The entire Al Qaeda movement has been very aggressive in trying to recruit citizens inside the United States, and you need an Anwar Awlaki, you need an Abu Mansour, who can operate very comfortably in both environments,” he added.

Hammami, popularly known as Abu Mansour Al Amriki, is believed to be one of the key figures behind the Islamic insurgent group al-Shabaab’s long and bloody guerrilla war against the government of Somalia.

According to Fox News, Hammami has starred in several propaganda and recruitment videos for Al Shabab and has recruited dozens of Americans to its cause.

His strategies are quite similar to Awlaki, who became popular for his anti-Western lectures and other radical messages, which had been distributed throughout the world through audio files and online videos.

A source familiar with counter terrorism operations near the Horn of Africa however highlighted few differences between the two saying that Hammami is “a fighter” who is “ready and willing to die,” while Awlaki more of a “scholar” who has shied away from actual combat.

Nelson also acknowledged that there are differences between Hammami and Awlaki, but believes that “at the end of the day they’re still achieving the same goal.” (ANI)

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