Witness: Minn. man funded al-Shabab terror recruit

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 10:01 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012
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Isse said he was told he had to keep the plans secret because the ideas weren't supported by the Somali community in Minneapolis.

"Did you understand you might get killed?" Docherty asked.

"Yes," Isse replied.

"Did you understand you might kill?" the prosecutor asked. Isse said that he did.

The men raised money for airline tickets by going door-to-door under the guise of raising money for a mosque, Isse said. They planned to travel in small groups to avoid detection.

Isse said he and another local Somali man left Minneapolis on Dec. 8, 2007, and flew to Dubai, where they met up with two other men who had left Minneapolis two days earlier.

The four then flew from Dubai to Hargeisa, a city in northern Somalia. Isse and one of his traveling companions then went to Mogadishu, where they met a man Isse called Samatar, who prosecutors have said is really Said Fidhin, a man who left the U.S. in 2006.

Samatar told the young men they had to pick new names and hand over their travel documents, but Isse said he didn't give up his documents at that point. "We were new to the place and we didn't trust anybody," he said. Later, he was told to give his green card and Somali passport to a woman for "security" reasons.

From Mogadishu, Isse and his friend were driven to a three-bedroom house in Marka run by a woman called "Mother Shabab." Isse said at one point there were seven Minnesotans there, including himself and Omar, who stayed for more than a week and gave him phone cards.

Since the men were from the West, they were told to buy their own AK-47s. Isse said they began calling friends in the U.S. and asking for money, and eventually got assault rifles at another safe house. One weapon arrived with Omar's name on it, Isse said.

Isse then went to another location and began helping clear trees for a training camp. He left after about a week and eventually returned to the U.S.

He was arrested at the Seattle airport in 2009, as he was trying to go to Tanzania. He testified Thursday that he'd wanted to get out of town because he had heard people in Minneapolis were being arrested.

Isse has pleaded guilty in the case and agreed to testify against Omar in exchange for a lighter sentence.

The defense is expected to cross examine Isse on Friday.

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