An American jihadist who once was an operational commander for al-Shabaab – al-Qaida's Somali affiliate – reportedly was killed by his former comrades during an attack on a town southwest of Mogadishu.
Alabama native Omar Hammami had been on the run trying to evade the terrorist group after falling out with the terror group's leadership.
"There was a gun battle between [Hammami] and his men and other fighters," Maolim Ali, a resident in Bardhere, Somalia told Agence France Presse. British jihadist Osama al-Britani also reportedly died in the attack by al-Shabbab gunmen.
Hammami grew up as a Baptist before converting to Islam and becoming president of the Muslim Students Association at the University of South Alabama. He became one of the most notorious foreign fighters in Somalia, known as Abu Mansour al-Amriki ["the American"]. He was under indictment in the United States, designated as an international terrorist and had a $5 million reward offered by the U.S. State Department for his capture.
Somalia has attracted dozens of Western fighters, including more than 10 Canadians and two dozen Americans, mostly from the Minneapolis area. Several others are known to have died – some at the hands of al-Shabaab and at least in a suicide bombing by the group.
The American told Voice of America's (VOA) Somalia Service earlier this month that he had renounced his membership in al-Shabaab.
"I'm openly not from Shabaab. I'm openly not from al Qaeda, but I'm definitely a terrorist," Hammami said.
Hammami's father, Shafik, told ABC News that he hoped the latest reports of his son's death were untrue, but if not, then his son "died fighting for his principles, whatever they are."