Omar Hammami has been called 'the most prominent American Jihadi left alive." But if his Twitter account is to be believed, he just had a brush with death in Somalia—and tweeted the whole thing.
The 28-year-old Alabama-born Hammami tweeted few minutes ago that he'd been shot by an "assassin" in the neck:
just been shot in neck by shabab assassin. not critical yet— abu m (@abumamerican) April 25, 2013
sitting in tea place then 3 shots behind to left. pistol i think. they ran— abu m (@abumamerican) April 25, 2013
@theheroweneed pistol. not sure calibre— abu m (@abumamerican) April 25, 2013
Hammami has gained a level of internet fame thanks to his Twitter account, on which he posts dispatches from Somalia, where he traveled to join notorious terrorist group al-Shebab in 2006, and his odd English-language Jihadi rap songs like "Send Me a Cruise Missile". But in 2011 Hammami broke from Shebab over what he saw as the group's corruption. He's claimed since that Shebab has been planning to kill him over his defection, although Shebab's leadership disputes the claim.
Since leaving Shebab, Hammami has basically become a full-time Twitter troll, denouncing both Shebab and the U.S. while cultivating with an unlikely online dialogue with a mix of American national security specialists. Wired's Spencer Ackerman documented Hammami's social media exploits in an excellent profile earlier this month.
At the end of that profile, Ackerman quotes the terrorism expert J.M. Berger, one of Hammami's most-frequent Twitter interlocutors, as saying:
My primary motive at this point is that this is a guy who doesn’t have to die stupidly. I don’t think that there’s a very good chance anything we say on Twitter is gonna change his mind about things that are problematic and determine whether he dies stupidly. But I think it’s worth an effort. There’s no reason for him to just sort of let him ride off into the sunset without putting up a fight first.
When I asked Berger today on Twitter what he made of Hammami's tweets, he replied, "Waiting to see how things shake out."
Update: Hammami has been tweeting out photos as proof that he'd been shot. It looks like the bullet grazed the left side of his neck. Here's the least gory of them: