The FBI did not detail the new charges, but FBI Special Agent Erin Westfall in a statement broadly described Mostafa’s role with the extremist group, which has sought to overthrow the Somali government and impose al-Shabab’s strict version of Islamic law.
“Over the past decade, Mostafa has held positions within al Shabab’s explosives department, media wing, and training camps,” Westfall said. “We believe he will continue to play an active role in terrorist acts that al Shabaab commits until he is stopped.”
The FBI said the Wisconsin-born Mostafa is also known as “Ahmed Gurey,” “Ahmed,” “Anwar,” “Abu Anwar al Muhajir” and “Abu Abdallah al Muhajir.” Investigators said he grew up in the San Diego area, where he went to high school and graduated from college before traveling first to Yemen and then to Somalia. There, he joined with rebel forces in Ethiopia and later, al-Shabab.
The U.S. State Department designated al-Shabab a terrorist organization in 2008; in 2012, the organization merged with al-Qaeda. The organization has claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks in Somalia and East Africa, including a January attack at a hotel in Nairobi that killed nearly 70 people, including one American.
Most recently, al-Shabab claimed responsibility for a September attack that targeted a U.S. airfield in Somalia where American and European forces are backing the Somali government against the terrorist group.