ISLAMIC MILITANCY

US target Ikrima planned string of attacks, says spy report

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 October, 2013, 5:40am
 

Ikrima, the militant targeted by US special forces in a failed weekend raid, is a Somali-based thinker, planner and operator who has relentlessly plotted attacks on neighbouring Kenya, intelligence services and analysts believe.

Kenyan and Western security agencies have identified Ikrima - the nom de guerre of Abdikadar Mohamed Abdikadar - as the link man for commanders of the al- Shabab Islamist group in Somalia with al-Qaeda and Kenya's home-bred militants.

They have not established that Ikrima, a Kenyan of Somali origin who spent several years in Norway, was involved in last month's attack on a Nairobi shopping mall that killed 67 people, for which al-Shabab has claimed responsibility.

But he plotted to attack Kenya's parliament, assassinate Kenyan politicians and hit UN offices in Nairobi, according to a leaked Kenyan intelligence report.

These plans failed, but so too did the US Navy SEALS mission into Barawe, a militant stronghold on Somalia's southern coast. The special forces team pulled out after a gun battle without capturing Ikrima, named after a figure in Islamic history who first fought against Prophet Mohammed but then converted to become one of his most valiant commanders.

"He is a planner who is relentless in coming up with operations in Kenya," said Matt Bryden, a former co-ordinator of the United Nations Somalia and Eritrea Monitoring Group. "He is one of the thinkers, planners, operational practitioners."

One defector from al-Shabab, who now works with Somali intelligence, described Ikrima as a well-connected man in his 30s able to mastermind operations across the border into Kenya.

In a security document leaked a week after the Westgate raid, Kenya's national intelligence service detailed plots masterminded by Ikrima to attack parliament, a restaurant popular with Somali officials, the UN headquarters in Nairobi and Kenyan politicians.

The plans had been sanctioned by al-Qaeda in Pakistan.

Share

Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.