Abdifatah Aden

Abdifatah Aden was a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia who went to Syria to fight for the Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. He died in battle in June 2014 at the age of 27.Kathy Lynn Gray, “Documents reveal details about Columbus man accused of helping terrorists,” Columbus Dispatch, April 21, 2015, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/04/21/terrorism_search_warrants.html.

Aden lived in Columbus, Ohio, from 2005 to 2013 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2006.Kathy Lynn Gray, “Documents reveal details about Columbus man accused of helping terrorists,” Columbus Dispatch, April 21, 2015, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/04/21/terrorism_search_warrants.html. On Facebook, he was known as “Abdifateh SeekTruth Aden,” and posted propaganda videos in support of violent jihadist ideology. In October 2012, Aden posted videos and quotes by Islamic extremist lecturer Anwar al-Awlaki.Kathy Lynn Gray, “Documents reveal details about Columbus man accused of helping terrorists,” Columbus Dispatch, April 21, 2015, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/04/21/terrorism_search_warrants.html.

Aden left for Saudi Arabia in 2013 and then decided to fight for the Nusra Front. He asked his half-brother Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud for money to cover his living expenses in Syria.Kathy Lynn Gray, “Documents reveal details about Columbus man accused of helping terrorists,” Columbus Dispatch, April 21, 2015, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/04/21/terrorism_search_warrants.html. In September 2013, the two brothers communicated about Mohamud’s plans to join Aden in Syria and Mohamud’s desire to “join you in the high ranks as a Mujahid.”Kevin Landers, “Columbus Man Pleads Not Guilty to Plotting Military Base Attack,” 10TV, April 17, 2015, http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2015/04/17/columbus-ohio-columbus-man-to-be-arraigned-on-ffederal-terrorism-charges.html. Upon news of Aden’s death, Mohamud said he was happy and that he “was next and would join Aden soon.”Kevin Landers, “Columbus Man Pleads Not Guilty to Plotting Military Base Attack,” 10TV, April 17, 2015, http://www.10tv.com/content/stories/2015/04/17/columbus-ohio-columbus-man-to-be-arraigned-on-ffederal-terrorism-charges.html.

After Aden’s death, a “martyrdom photo” showing him lying in bed with a bandaged head began to circulate on Facebook. Mohamud requested that the photo be taken down and later took down his Facebook account as well.Kathy Lynn Gray, “Documents reveal details about Columbus man accused of helping terrorists,” Columbus Dispatch, April 21, 2015, http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/04/21/terrorism_search_warrants.html.

Mohamud traveled to Syria in April 2014 and returned to the United States two months later, allegedly planning to carry out an attack on U.S. soil.John Bacon, “Ohio man accused of planning U.S. terror strike,” USA Today, April 16, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/16/ohio-indicted-islamic-state-terrorism/25879443/. He was arrested in February 2015 and has pled not guilty to charges of supporting terrorism.John Bacon, “Ohio man accused of planning U.S. terror strike,” USA Today, April 16, 2015, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/04/16/ohio-indicted-islamic-state-terrorism/25879443/. On January 22, 2018, Mohamud was sentenced to 22 years in prison, but he requested to be deported instead of serving his sentence. The local Homeland Security Investigations office has said it will look into stripping him of his citizenship and deporting him to his native Somalia.Andrew Welsh-Huggins “Man accused in terror plot asked for deportation over prison,” Fox News, January 28, 2018, http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/28/man-accused-in-terror-plot-asked-for-deportation-over-prison.html.

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