Multiple sources have reported that the FBI and other U.S. intelligence officials are investigating claims that American citizens may be some of the al-Shabab gunmen who attacked a shopping mall in Kenya on Saturday.
Al-Shabab, the al-Qaida linked terrorist group from Somalia, is known to actively recruit Americans to its cause, and multiple reports said it is believed three American men are part of the attackers in Nariobi.
Late Sunday night, though, BBC Africa tweeted that the al-Shabab military leader in Somalia denied the involvement of any American or British citizens:
Abu Omar, Al Shabaab military commander in Somalia, denies that there were any Britons or Americans involved in the attack #BBCNewsday
— BBC Africa (@BBCAfrica) September 23, 2013
However, sources within the FBI and State Department have confirmed to CNN they are investigating claims that Americans were involved.
Al-Shabab allegedly tweeted the names of nine individuals among the gunmen: “Three of the alleged attackers are from the United States, two are from Somalia and there is one each from Canada, Finland, Kenya and the United Kingdom,” CNN reported.
According to PJ Media:
“We received permission to disclose the names of our mujahideen inside #Westgate,” [al-Shabab’s] latest account tweeted.
They proceeded to tweet the names one by one, including Ahmed Mohamed Isse, 22, “native” of St. Paul, Minn., Abdifatah Osman Keenadiid, 24, of Minneapolis, and Gen Mustafe Noorudiin, 27, of Kansas City, Mo.
“U.S. officials estimate that as many as 50 Americans have traveled to training camps in Somalia, the home of the al Qaeda-linked terror group al-Shabaab, over the last six years,” ABC News reported.
Al-Shabab claimed credit for the attack at the Westgate shopping mall in retaliation for years of Kenyan military action in Somalia.
It is unknown how many gunmen and hostages remain inside in the mall, but newest reports as of Monday morning claim 69 people have been killed and 175 injured, including some Americans.