Who is Al-Shabaab?

by Minnesota Public Radio

Al-Shabaab is a group of Somali Islamists suspected of recruiting young men from Minnesota to fight in the war in Somalia. The group developed in the wake of the loss of the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) at the hands of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) and its backers, primarily the military of Ethiopia, in the war in Somalia that has been taking place since 2006.

The group formed in 2004, and is classified as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S. State Department.

Estimates put their numbers at between 3,000 and 7,000 members as of 2006, and includes foreign fighters from around the world.

Shirwa Ahmed, cited by FBI Director Robert Mueller as the first U.S. citizen to carry out a terrorist bombing in Somalia, is said to have been indoctrinated while in Minnesota.

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Al-Shabaab region of Somalia