A jihadi rapper from Alabama who had a $5 million bounty put on his head by the FBI after he climbed the ranks of an al Qaeda-linked Somali militant group has reportedly been killed by members of his own organization.
Omar Hammami, known as Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki, or "the American," died in southern Somalia following several months on the run after a falling out with al-Shabab's top leader, the militants said early Thursday according to The Associated Press.
U.S. officials tell NBC News they believe Hammami was killed by al-Shabab.
The 29-year-old became well known for posting YouTube videos of himself rapping.
There have been several reports of Hammami’s death in the past. Speaking from the family home in Daphne, Ala., his father Shafik told NBC News that neither he nor Omar's mother Debra had had confirmation of his death.
“We have been through this before,” he said. “It has been a roller coaster and we have been through this before, so I don’t know how to react. It’s a difficult situation.”
Hammami is believed to have entered Somalia in 2006 to join the Islamic militant group al-Shabab, which is trying to topple the country’s government.
The group announced a formal merger with al Qaeda in February 2012 and the following month the U.S. put Hammami on its most-wanted terrorist list and offered a $5 million reward for information leading to his capture.
U.S. prosecutors charged him with providing material support to terrorists.
But early Thursday witnesses told Reuters that he had been shot in a dawn raid on the hideout he was sharing with a British fighter of Pakistani origin, known as Usama al-Britani.
“This morning al-Amriki and his comrades were attacked by well armed fighters,'' village resident Hussein Nur told the agency. “After a brief fight al-Amriki and his two colleagues were killed. Several of their guards escaped.''
Hammami previously expressed fear for his life in a Web video in March 2012 that publicized a growing rift between himself and the leadership of al-Shabab.
The first serious attempt on his life was made in April.
"Just been shot in neck by shabab assassin. not critical yet," Hammami tweeted after the attack, later writing that the leader of al-Shabab was sending in forces from multiple directions.
Hammami accused al-Shabab's leaders of living extravagant lifestyles with the taxes fighters collect from Somali residents.
Although militants did not present proof of Hammami’s death J.M. Berger, who runs the website Intelwire.com, told The Associated Press that he thought it was “very likely true.”
"Hammami brought a lot of unwelcome outside scrutiny on Shabab from the international jihadist community,” he told the AP. “His story will likely be a case study on what can go wrong when Westerners join jihadist movements."
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.