reportedly arrested in his home in southern Somalia Marka.
But the al Qaeda-linked terror group is denying that the group “arrested” one of its own — a high-profile American member — just days after the American posted an online video in which he said he feared for his life.
“I record this message today because I feel that my life may be endangered by Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen due to some differences that occurred between us regarding matters of the Sharia and matters of the strategy,” Hamami said in the video.
Hamami is seen as a key leader for foreign fighters in the group, which he joined in 2006.
Following the video release, al-Shabaab expressed “surprise” and denied that Hamami’s life was in jeopardy, AFP reported. Then a pair of reports surfaced Monday claiming Hammami had been abducted by members of al-Shabaab — reports that the spokesperson for the group strongly denied online.
“All reports of [Hammami’s] arrest are false and intended purely for propaganda purposes,” the spokesperson told ABC News over Twitter. “Beware of such inaccurate reports.”
“We assure our Muslim brothers that AlAmriki is not endangered by the Mujahideen &our brother still enjoys all the privileges of brotherhood,” the group’s press office announced on its Twitter page.
Officials at the U.S. State Department said they are aware of the reported arrest and are looking into the matter.
Hammami is one of the most high-profile Americans to join the terrorist organization and, according to the U.S. government, is “an important al-Shabaab voice on the internet.” He is known within the group for producing pro-jihad rap songs in hopes of pulling young fighters to the cause.
According to a U.S. Congressional report from July, the American government estimates Hamammi is one of 40 Americans who have traveled to Somalia to join al-Shabaab — American passport holders that the government says represent a “direct threat to the U.S. homeland.