A Twitter user who is known to have connections to al-Shabaab in Somalia, claims the man was killed during a recent U.S.-backed offensive in the Syrian city of Kobane. On Twitter the militant said, "Allahu Akbar (God is Great), a young Somali brother I used to know back in Minnesota got Martyred in Kobane."
The Twitter user identifies the dead man only as "Yusuf," and says Yusuf's older brother is with him in Somalia.
'We believe he's a recruiter'
"This is someone (Yusuf) we've been following for some time," said Omar Jamal, a Minnesota Somali community leader with the group American Friends of Somalia. "We believe he's a recruiter and may've even purchased tickets."
Jamal said Yusuf is believed to have left Minnesota in June shortly after another man, Abdullahi Yusuf, attempted to leave on May 28, but was intercepted by FBI agents at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport. Abdullahi Yusuf, 18, is in custody and was indicted last month with another Minnesotan, Abdi Nur, 22, for providing material support for the terrorist organization ISIS. Nur is believed to be in Syria fighting for ISIS. The FBI says there is no evidence he has returned to the United States.
FBI spokesperson Kyle Loven said the agency is aware of our report and they're looking into it, but can neither confirm nor deny that another Minnesotan has died fighting for ISIS in Syria.
Who is the Twitter user?
The Twitter user who disclosed Yusuf's death, goes by the name "Miski" and sources tell Fox 9 News they believe he's the same "Miski" identified in a federal indictment as Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan. Hassan was indicted in August 2008 of traveling from Minnesota to Somalia to join al-Shabaab. He remains a fugitive from justice.
Federal prosecutors said last month that Hassan (aka Miski) had contact with Minnesotans who had traveled to Syria to fight for ISIS. According to the federal indictment against Abdi Nur, Hassan allegedly communicated through Facebook from Somalia with Nur in Syria.
"Us brother from mpls wanted to know how many you guys are back there in sham (Syria/Iraq)?," Hassan asked last August in a Facebook communication to Nur. From Syria, Nur replied, "Only three of us the others there still working making hijra (journey)."
In a conversation that illustrated Jihadist connections between Syria, Somalia, and Minnesota, Hassan (aka Miski) told Nur:
"Being connected in Jihad make you stronger and you can all help each other by fulfilling the duties that Allah swt put over you… Like us in Somalia the brothers from mpls are well connected so try to do the same… It is something we have learned after 6 years in Jihhad (in Somalia)."
According to the indictment, Hassan (aka Miski) tells Nur: "Jihad teaches you to have as much connection as you can from other Jihadi fronts. That's some lessons we got the past 6 years."