ISIS fighter killed in Syria worked at Minneapolis International Airport
Abdirahmaan Muhumed, the second known American to die while fighting alongside Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants, was formerly an employee with a Delta Airlines subsidiary at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Muhumed had a security clearance at the airport, access to the tarmac, and access to planes, as his job was to clean aircraft, Fox 9 in Minneapolis reported. It is yet unknown what level of security clearance he had.
Two former employees confirmed to Fox 9 that they worked with Muhumed at Delta Global Services (DGS), though it is unclear how long he worked for DGS or when he left the area to fight in Syria.
The Delta Airlines subsidiary’s cleaning contract at the airport was taken over by Airserv earlier this year. The Metropolitan Airports Commission, the body in charge of airport security clearances, would not comment to Fox 9 based on the ongoing FBI investigation.
Muhumed died during the same battle in Syria that killed Douglas McCain, another one of as many as 16 Minnesotans believed to have gone overseas to fight alongside IS. Muhumed and McCain were reportedly friends in high school near Minneapolis.
Muhumed was active in local politics within the Somali community in the Twin Cities region, according to Fox 9. He did not have a criminal history in Minnesota. Those who knew him called him gregarious, but also frustrated by economic conditions that made it a challenge to support his nine children.
Local Somali leaders said IS may be using similar strategies as Al-Shabab, the Somali extremist group who has in the past successfully recruited young men from the Twin Cities area to fight.
"You have the same combination of vulnerable kids susceptible to crazy ideas, dissolution, giving up hope on achieving the American Dream," Somali community organizer Omar Jamal said. "What's the alternative to fight against these people? We have to come together and do something about this."
Islamic State has rapidly gained strength since developing during the Syrian civil war and splitting from Al-Qaeda before pushing through parts of western and northern Iraq in recent months. US President Barack Obama ordered airstrikes against IS targets in Iraq last month.
Early Wednesday, Obama said of Islamic State that “Americans are repulsed by their barbarism,” and that the US “will not be intimidated”
“The bottom line is this, our objective is clear and that is to degrade and destroy (Islamic State) so that it’s no longer a threat not just to Iraq but also the region and to the United States," Obama said at a news conference in Estonia.
On Tuesday, IS released a video indicating the beheading of American journalist Steven Sotloff, the second journalist supposedly killed by IS. The US government says the video is authentic.
"Those that make the mistake of harming Americans will learn that we will not forget and that our reach is long and that justice will be served," Obama said Wednesday.
"This is not going to be a one-week or one-month or six month proposition because of what’s happened in the vacuum of Syria, as well as the battle hardened elements of (Islamic State) that grew out of Al-Qaeda in Iraq during the course of the Iraq war ... it’s going to take time for us to be able to roll them back."