Washington, Aug.6 (ANI): American federal authorities have arrested two naturalized American citizens near Minneapolis on charges of raising funds for the Somalian terror group Al Shabab.
According to Fox News, Amina Farah Ali and Hawo Mohamed Hassan, residents of Rochester, Minneapolis, reportedly raised funds through "door-to-door" solicitation for Al Shabab by telling potential Somalian community donors that "the funds were for the poor and needy."
Seven others, including unidentified individuals in Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio, have been indicted for helping Ali and Hallan "collect and forward funds to Al Shabab."
In all, charges against 14 people were unsealed for allegedly supporting and in some cases, providing funds to the Al Qaeda-linked group, which has its base in Somalia.
Among the charges unsealed was a years-old indictment against one the group's most prominent figures, Alabama-born Omar Hamammi, who has become a star of recruitment videos for the group and an "operational" figure within the group, known as Al Shabab.
He is still believed to be in Somalia.
"While our investigations are ongoing around the country, these arrests and charges should serve as an unmistakable warning to others considering joining terrorist groups like al-Shabab: If you choose this route you can expect to find yourself in a U.S. jail cell or a casualty on the battlefield in Somalia," Attorney General Eric Holder said during a press conference on Thursday while announcing the new charges.
Federal authorities have been worried that Al Shabab, which claimed responsibility for the recent attacks in Uganda and has pledged its allegiance to Osama bin Laden, could try to launch attacks inside the United States.
In fact, in a May 21 intelligence bulletin, federal authorities noted that: "Hammami has appeared in [Al Shabab] media productions urging individuals to travel to Somalia to take part in terrorist training."
It said: "We cannot exclude the possibility that U.S. persons aligned with [Al Shabab] in the Horn of Africa may return to the U.S., possibly to carry out acts of violence."
At the press conference on Thursday, Attorney General Holder said the U.S. government does not have "any direct evidence that Al Shabab is threatening the homeland," but added that Al Shabab's recruitment inside the United States and its attack in Uganda "give us pause." (ANI)