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KENYA

Norwegian was terrorist in Kenya mall attack

Norway's security services have confirmed that Hassan Dhuhulow, a Norwegian man of Somali decent, was one of the terrorists behind a brutal attack on a Nairobi shopping centre in 2013.

Norwegian was terrorist in Kenya mall attack
This man, clad in a black jacket, was the man a former neighbour identified as possibly being Hassan Abdi Dhuhulow - CCTV footage

“PST's conclusion is that Hassan Dhuhulow was one of the terrorists. The investigation has been concluded,” Martin Bernsen, the head of information for Norway's Police Security Services (PST) told Norway's Aftenposten newspaper.



On 21 September 2013, a group of gunmen attacked the Westgate mall in an affluent area of Nairobi, indiscriminately shooting shoppers and staff.

The mall remained under siege for four days as security services attempted to hunt down the assailants, who remained inside and were finally killed, partly by police and partly by areas of the mall collapsing. 



Somali terror group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  

Dhuhulow had been a suspect in the case since 2013, but his involvement had yet to be confirmed due to a lack of forensic evidence. He has now been identified by dental records.



“The reason is that several countries have been involved in the case. It's mainly the identification work that has taken a long time, and that has affected our progress,” Bernsen said. 



Prosecutor Jan Glent said that PST had been waiting for the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)  to complete it's own investigation. 



“We have been waiting for a forensic investigation from the FBI. It has taken time, and that is the reason why this case has taken such a long time,” he said. 



Dhuhulow came to to Norway as a nine-year-old in 1999. He has been watched by PST ever since he joined a radical Islamic group as a teenager. 

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SOMALI

Norwegian ISIS fighter ‘murdered two-year-old stepson’

A Norwegian Islamist fighting in Syria murdered the two-year-old son of a rival, after marrying the man's ex-wife, journalist Åsne Seierstad has claimed in her new book, Two Sisters.

Norwegian ISIS fighter 'murdered two-year-old stepson'
Bastian Vasquez is thought by some to have become a senior ISIS commander. Photo: Screen Grab/Facebook
According to Seierstad, Bastian Vasquez killed the son of Arfan Bhatti, a leading figure in the Norwegian Islamist group Profetens Ummah, after the boy came to Syria with his mother to engage in Jihad.  Vasquez was then executed by ISIS for the crime. 
 
The sensational new claim about the Chilean-Norwegian Islamist, who before his death last year was believed to be one of the most senior European figures in the Islamic State hierarchy, is a side-story to Seierstad’s investigation into the two teenage sisters who went from Norway to Syria in 2013. 
 
According to the book, the boy’s mother Aisha Shezadi, was first married to Bhatti, but then went voluntarily to Syria where she she became Vasquez’s second wife. 
 
Before his death, Vasquez presented some of ISIS’s most disturbing propaganda videos. In one, he first shows a group of captives imprisoned in a building, and then shows the building being blown up as he laughs and praises Allah. After the videos were published, Vasquez was charged under Norway's anti-terror laws. 
 
Bhatti as a teenager was a member of Oslo's Young Guns gang, and in 2006 was charged for firing shots at the Oslo Synagogue and the Israeli and US embassies. He resurfaced as an Islamist in 2012. 
 
 
 
Åsne Seierstad is most famous internationally for the Bookseller of Kabul, which she published in 2002, but is also known in Norway for her book on the mass killer Anders Breivik, and her reports from Iraq and Chechnya. 
 
The book, released in Norway this week, investigates how two Norwegian-Somali sisters who escaped to Syria in 2013 came to be radicalised, and what has happened to them since they disappeared. 
 
Seierstad believes that they were brainwashed by the man their mother hired to teach them the Koran. 
 
According to Seierstad, the man taught the sisters that it was the duty of Muslims to kill unbelievers, that those who waged Jihad would win a special place in Paradise, and that the West was an enemy of Islam. 
 
“What is central here is that these are teenagers. They are very impressionable,” Seierstad told Norwegian broadcaster NRK. “If this person had entered their life two years before or two years afterwards, it might have not happened.”
 
“There were many others in his class who were not affected,” she continued.  
 
The girls’ father travelled to Syria in 2013 to try and bring the two girls back after they ran away from the family home in Bærum, outside Oslo, when they were 16 and 19 years old respectively. Three years later, the girls are still in Syria. 
 
The father, who is not especially religious, told NRK that he agreed with Seierstad’s analysis. 
 
“He had an important role. The main role, I think, as a father,”  he said. “He quite simply brainwashed our children.” 
 
Asked if he had not brought disaster upon his own family by hiring the man, the father agreed. “Yes, you could say that. It happened, and it's sad.” 
 
According to the book, the girls’ mother hired the teacher along with a group of other Somali mothers after he was recommended by someone they knew at Oslo’s Tawfiiq Mosque. 
 
The book describes how the girls’ brother became increasingly suspicious of the man, and began questioning him on his views. 
 
“You mean that one should kill those who are not Muslims?,” Seierstad reports him asking incredulously. “Those are the words of the Prophet,” the man answered. 
 
According to the book, the brother asked the teacher whether he supported al Qaeda, and the man refused to answer. Then he asked about al Shabaab, the Islamic group which rules parts of Somalia. “I have nothing bad to say about them,” the man replied. 
 
In the book, Seierstad describes how the older sister went from being a top student to wearing the Niqab face veil, against her parents’ wishes. Unfortunately, neither her parents nor her teachers had any suspicions of what was going to happen.  
 
“What we know today, did not know in 2013 or 2012, before they left,” Seierstad reminded NRK.