Federal investigators have raised the reward up to $5 million for information leading to arrest of a man listed on FBI’s most wanted terrorists. Jehad Serwan Mostafa, 37, is believed to be the highest-ranking United States citizen fighting for a Somalia-based terrorist organisation, al-Shabaab. Mostafa was raised in San Diego, California and graduated from a college in his hometown.
According to the FBI, Mostafa joined al-Shabaab around 2006 and served in many capacities, including a military instructor at al-Shabaab's training camps, a leader of the foreign fighters, a leader and propagandist in al-Shabaab's media wing, an intermediary between al-Shabaab and other terrorist organisations, and as a leader in the group's use of explosives in terrorist attacks. The federal agency cautioned that the 37-year-old may have visited Yemen, Ethiopia, Kenya, and other African countries, apart from Somalia.
On December 2, Mostafa was indicted in the United States District Court, Southern District of California, San Diego, on charges of critical role in providing support to al-Shabaab, a designated foreign terrorist organisation (FTO). The superseding indictment alleged that he conspired to provide material support, including himself as personnel, to terrorists.
“We believe this defendant is the highest-ranking U.S. citizen fighting overseas with a terrorist organization,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.
“Al-Shabaab’s reign of terror threatens U.S. national security, our international allies and innocent civilians. Today we seek the public’s assistance in capturing Mostafa and disrupting Al-Shabaab,” he added.
US Department of Justice, in a statement, said that Al-Shabaab, meaning “The Youth” in Arabic, wants the control of Somalian territory to establish a society based on its “rigid interpretation of Sharia law.” Al-Shabaab, which pledged allegiance to another militant Islamist organisation Al-Qaeda in 2012, has been engaged in external operations in pursuit of “global jihad”. Though the attacks remained confined to East Africa, it has claimed responsibility for attacks causing harm to Americans.