Shirwa Ahmed

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Shirwa Ahmed
Bornc. 1983
DiedOctober 29, 2008
Puntland, Somalia
Cause of deathSuicide bombing
NationalityNaturalized U.S. citizen
MotivePolitics and religion

Shirwa Ahmed was a 26-year-old Somali-American who is the second known American suicide bomber, surpassing Andrew Kehoe.[1][2][3] He detonated a car bomb in Somalia in October 2008, killing himself.


Ahmed immigrated to the United States as a child, resided in Minneapolis, Minnesota and entered the Roosevelt High School in September 1996.[1] He became a naturalized American citizen[2] and went on to attend community college before dropping out and worked odd jobs.[1] In 2004, Ahmed began associating with a new group of friends perceived as having been religious; he was "radicalized in his hometown in Minnesota" according to Robert Mueller, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.[1] He was one of twenty Somali-American men who departed the Minneapolis area for Somalia, a trend which has been the focus of one of the larger domestic terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001.[1][3] Motivated by a mixture of politics and religion, he joined Al-Shabaab, a militant Somali group.[1] Then, on October 29, 2008, — or the 28th[2] — he drove a car loaded with explosives into a government compound in Puntland in the northern region of the country, and blew himself up.[1] The FBI investigated the incident and returned Ahmed's remains to Minneapolis that November.[1]

Mother Jones magazine pointed out normal elements of his American upbringing, including being a fan of rap artist Ice Cube, and enjoying basketball.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Elliott, Andrea (July 11, 2009). "A Call to Jihad, Answered in America". The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-11-12. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Pierre Thomas and Jason Ryan (November 25, 2009). "Feds Probing Possible Minn. Terror Group". ABC News. Retrieved June 28, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Nick Baumann (September 2011). "Locked Up Abroad—for the FBI". Mother Jones magazine. Archived from the original on 2017-06-23. Retrieved 2017-06-25. What worries federal authorities is that Ahmed was one of at least 20 young men who left Minnesota between 2007 and 2009 for Somalia—intending, the FBI believes, to join the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist group al-Shabaab. Since then, several more of these men are believed to have become suicide bombers—including one just this past May.