Kenya’s foreign minister said Tuesday that some of the militants who killed dozens in an upscale Nairobi mall over the weekend were Americans. That remains to be confirmed, and a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said she couldn’t confirm the identity of any attackers. But if Americans truly were among the culprits, they’ll join a growing list of those who went on to wreak havoc abroad.
Here’s just five of the most infamous home-grown American terrorists.
Al-Shabaab, the group behind the Kenya mall attack, has a history of recruiting American terrorists. Born in Alabama to a Southern Baptist mother and a Sunni Muslim from Syria, Hammami joined the Somali militant group in 2006. Hammami was known as Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, or “the American,” and was known for rapping about jihad in popular YouTube videos. He was reportedly killed by al-Shabaab just two weeks ago after a falling out with the group’s leadership, but his death has not been confirmed, according to the Guardian.
Jehad Serwan Mostafa
Mostafa was raised in California and was active at his San Diego mosque before joining al-Shabaab, according to NBC San Diego. He is accused of providing material support to al-Shabaab and fighting with a terrorist group. Mostafa is believed to be in Somalia, and could face up to 15 years in prison if caught.
Born in New Mexico, al-Awlaki grew up in Yemen but returned to the U.S. for college and graduate school. He then practiced as an imam in California and Virginia, where he interacted with three of the 9/11 hijackers. He also allegedly communicated with Major Nidal Hasan before the Fort Hood shooting that killed 13 soldiers, and is suspected of engineering the failed plot to bring down a jetliner over Detroit. He was killed by a CIA drone in Yemen on Sept. 30, 2011.
A Muslim with Jewish grandparents, Gadahn was born in California and moved to Pakistan in 1998, CNN reports. He began appearing in al-Qaeda videos in 2004, and subsequently released many videos praising the 9/11 attackers, renouncing his American citizenship, and asking wealthy Muslims to sponsor killings like the murder of America’s top diplomat in Libya, Chris Stevens. He served as Osama bin Laden’s media adviser and spokesman.
David Coleman Headley
A native Chicagoan, Headley is currently serving 35 years in prison for helping to plan the deadly 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Headley had attended training camps for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistani militant group behind the attacks, and helped scout locations for the shootings and bombings, according to the New York Times. He also participated in a failed plot against a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.