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In brief: Somalia bomber shares tie to city

Tue., Nov. 1, 2011

MINNEAPOLIS – A man who blew himself up in an attack that killed at least 10 people in Somalia on Saturday may have been a U.S. citizen from Minneapolis who returned to Somalia three years ago, several Minnesotans with Somali ties said Sunday.

Before the attack, the man made an audiotape posted by the Somali militant group al-Shabab in which he urged other young people not to “just chill all day” and to instead fight nonbelievers. The website posted the tape, saying the bomber, whom al-Shabab identified as Somali-American Abdisalan Taqabalahullaah, emigrated to the United States when he was 2.

In Minneapolis, Omar Jamal, first secretary of the Somali mission to the United Nations, said Sunday that he has heard from five community members who listened to the tape and identified the bomber as Abdisalan Ali, 22, a Minnesotan missing since fall 2008 whose nickname was “Bullethead.”

If authorities verify his identity, he would become the third identified Minnesotan to have died as a suicide bomber in Somalia.

HOUSTON – Arizona officials have arrested 76 people suspected in the smuggling of at least $2 billion worth of drugs through the state’s western desert in coordination with Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel.

The arrests were made during a series of recent raids.

Officials said the ring, based in Chandler, Stanfield and Maricopa, used backpackers and trucks to move drugs from the border to a network of stash houses in the Phoenix area. After arriving in Phoenix, the smugglers sold the drugs, which included marijuana, cocaine and heroin, to distributors from various states.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said the smugglers succeeded at first because they had established control over an 80-mile stretch of the border from Yuma to Sells, Ariz.

Kice said investigators believe some of those arrested are U.S.-based bosses in the Sinaloa cartel.

During last week’s raids, authorities seized more than 2 tons of marijuana, 19 weapons and nearly $200,000 in cash, the agency said. It estimates that the drug ring smuggled more than 3.3 million pounds of marijuana, 20,000 pounds of cocaine and 10,000 pounds of heroin into the United States during the last five years.

Doctor says Obama healthy

WASHINGTON – Much as he complains about his gray hair and job stress, President Barack Obama seems to be getting healthier as his term grinds along.

Obama’s physician reported Monday that the president is in “excellent health.”

His cholesterol count is down, his lungs are clear and his colon cancer test was negative, the report showed. Obama’s weight is up, but only by a pound.

And he appears to have quit smoking for good; the doctor declared him “tobacco free.”

The results show an improvement in Obama’s condition from his last physical, in February 2010.

Then, his LDL cholesterol – that’s the bad kind – stood at 138, or borderline high.


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