Somali terror suspect waives detention hearing

Salah Osman Ahmed
Salah Osman Ahmed of New Brighton, Minn. has been charged with providing material support to terrorism, and conspiracy to kill people outside of the U.S. He is in custody in the Anoka County Jail.
Photo courtesy of Anoka County

A Minnesota man indicted on terrorism charges has waived a detention hearing that had been scheduled this afternoon.

Salah Osman Ahmed, 26, of New Brighton, Minn., was scheduled to appear in federal court Thursday afternoon. But his attorney, James Ostgard, filed documents Thursday morning waiving the hearing.

Ostgard says Ahmed agrees to his current conditions of confinement.

Ahmed was indicted on charges of supporting terrorism and lying to authorities, who believe he conspired to kill people outside of the U.S.

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Earlier this week, Ahmed and Abdifatah Yusuf Isse, 25, of Seattle, Wash., were named in indictments that said the men conspired over the course of more than a year, from September 2007 to December 2008. Authorities think the men joined al-Shabaab, an extremist Islamic group with ties to al-Qaida in their homeland.

The indictments charge them with conspiring to "kill, kidnap, and maim, and injure" others in a foreign country. The indictments say Ahmed and Isse boarded a Northwest flight in December 2007 from Minneapolis to Amsterdam with a final destination to "fight jihad in Somalia."

Court records released Tuesday say while Isse was in Somalia, he lived in al-Shabaab houses, received basic weapons instruction and was issued an AK-47 assault rifle and ammunition, although he did not fire this weapon while in Somalia.

After his return to the United States in May 2008, the indictment says Isse "maintained contact with other individuals who had knowledge of the ongoing conspiracy to recruit al-Shabaab members from among the Somali-American population in Minneapolis."

Ahmed is also charged with lying to the FBI. One indictment says he told agents that he was traveling alone and did not know anyone on his flights to Somalia, when in fact, the indictment alleges he was flying with an another would-be fighter.

Abdifatah Isse
Abdifatah Yusuf Isse is one of two Somali-Americans indicted by a federal grand jury on terror charges.
Photo Courtesy of the Washington County Sheriff's Office

Ahmed, a former student at North Hennepin Community College, worked as a security guard and lived in New Brighton before his arrest on Saturday. He's being held at the Anoka County jail.

Isse was arrested in February at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and is cooperating with authorities, according to the indictment.

The FBI office in Minneapolis confirmed that the indictments were part of a broad investigation into the disappearances of Somali-American men believed to be fighting in their homeland.

Authorities have spent several months investigating a possible terror link between the Twin Cities and Somalia, and the indictment against Ahmed and Isse were the first to be unsealed as part of the investigation.

But authorities would not describe the relationship between the two indicted men and the others fighting in Somalia. At least four Minnesotans have died there.

About 20 men from Minnesota are believed to be fighting with the Islamic extremist group Al-Shabaab in Somalia. The U.S. considers the group a terrorist organization, so it would be against the law for Americans to join forces with them.

The first wave of men left in 2007. Authorities think one of those early travelers, Shirwa Ahmed of Minneapolis, blew himself up in a suicide bombing in Somalia last fall.

Over the past several months, dozens of individuals associated with the case have gone before a federal grand jury in Minneapolis.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)