‘It’s time for brothers in the U.S. to do their part’: American jihadi allegedly called for attack
- Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, 25, thought to have urged allies to violence
- Twitter account thought to be his called for Charlie Hebdo-style massacre
- Two men opened fire at ‘free speech’ event in Garland, Texas, on Sunday
- Were killed by security – identities and motives remain unknown
‘Called for attack’: Mohamed Hassan, 25, is thought to be behind a tweet calling for violence at the ‘draw Muhammad’ event where two attackers were killed.
An American jihadi allegedly called for Charlie Hebdo-style attack at a Texas ‘draw Muhammad’ event more than a week before it was attacked by two gunmen. Mohamed Abdullahi Hassan, a 25-year-old fighter with the Al Shabaab terrorist group in Somalia, is thought to have posted messages urging violence against the event in the city of Garland, pre-empting the eventual attack. The two armed men were shot dead by security after they opened fire outside the Muhammad Art Exhibit event, where participants were told to draw the Islamic prophet – considered blasphemy by his followers – for the chance of a $10,000 prize. Hassan is believed to have posted a message on Twitter calling for the violence on April 23. A twitter account believed to be his wrote: ‘The brothers from the Charlie hebdo [sic] attack did their part. It’s time for brothers in the #US to do their part.’
This was followed by a hyperlink to a news story describing the event, which took place at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center Sunday night. The account which posted the message was named Mujahid Miski, believed to be Hassan’s jihadi alias.
Both the message and the account have now been removed from Twitter, but the call for an attack was recorded in passing by an article by Foreign Policy magazine published on April 27. It noted in the piece that the account, @Hoor_Watermelon, claimed it was the 31st such page run by the same user after previous iterations were shut down. According to the International Business Times, Hassan lived in Washington state and Minnesota before leaving the United States in 2008 to join Al Shabaab in Somalia. The paper noted that he also posted frequent messages in support of ISIS on his account and is thought to be involved in radicalizing and recruiting other would-be militants.
The affiliations of the attackers remained unclear Sunday night. Law enforcement have yet to identify those involved, or give an idea of their motive. However, the founders of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which organized the event, linked it strongly to agents of the Islamic State. Robert Spencer, who also runs the Jihad Watch website, said the attack ‘was to enforce Sharia’, the Islamic system of law. The attack in Texas follows several arrests of alleged ISIS sympathizers by the FBI, some of whom were reportedly planning violent attacks on U.S. soil. Three men from Brooklyn appeared in court in February, charged by federal prosecutors with plotting terror attacks.
Akhror Saidakhmetov, 19, Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, 24, and Abror Habibov, 30, were accused of plotting to hijack a commercial plane, shoot FBI and police officers, and also set off a bomb in New York City. Also in February, ISIS sympathizer Jaleel Tariq Abdul-Jabbaar, 46, pleaded guilty to making death threats against Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who was at the center of national controversy after shooting Michael Brown. A month before, Muslim convert Christopher Lee Cornell was arrested in Ohio after allegedly plotting a pipe-bomb attack on the U.S. Capitol.