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Three San Diego residents charged with aiding Somali terror group

November 2, 2010 |  4:33 pm

Three San Diego residents have been indicted on charges of conspiring to provide money to a terrorist group in Somalia that uses murder, beheadings and bombings, the U.S. attorney's office announced Tuesday.

The three are charged with aiding Al Shabab, listed by the State Department as a group pledged to use terror and intimidation to undermine Somalia's weak transitional government.  All three are in custody.

Charged are Basaaly Saeed Moalin, 33; Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, 38; and Issa Doreh, 54.

Al Shabab has claimed responsibility for a bombing that killed 76 people in Uganda who were watching a telecast of a World Cup soccer match. Included in the dead was an American aid worker.

Although it has ties to Al Qaeda, the group is not believed to have launched any attacks on U.S. soil, officials said.

The indictment charges that Moalin was in telephone contact in 2007 and 2008 with a leader of the terror group, Aden Hashi Ayrow, who asked him to send money to the group. Money from San Diego was sent to Somalia on several occasions, the indictment alleges.

Also, Moalin provided a safe house for terrorists to use in Somalia, the indictment says.

Moalin was arrested Sunday as he attempted to board a flight from San Diego's Lindbergh Field. Doreh and Mohamud were arrested Monday.

In August, 14 people, most of them U.S. citizens of Somali descent, were indicted in three states on charges of helping the same group. Included in that group was a former San Diego resident, Serwan Mostafa, 28, a U.S. citizen. He remained at large.

At the time, U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder said the group was attempting to put together a "deadly pipeline" of funds and fighters to help its goal of toppling the Somali government and installing an Islamic regime akin to that of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Holder said that an increasing number of U.S. residents "have become captivated by extremist ideology." An estimated 20 young men left Minnesota from 2007 to 2009 to join Al Shabab, Holder said.

--Tony Perry in San Diego