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Two Somali-born women were on Friday sentenced to prison by a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia for providing material support to al-Shabaab.
Hinda Osman Dhirane, 46, of Kent, Washington and Muna Osman Jama, 36, of Reston, Virginia were sentenced to 11 and 12 years respectively for sending money to members of al-Shabaab in Somalia and Kenya.
“In addition to money they transferred in direct support of al-Shabaab, these subjects recruited, solicited, and advised an online group located in multiple countries as to how and where to transfer funds to this terrorist organization,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. According to the FBI, the group, called a “Group of Fifteen”, included women from Somalia, Kenya, Egypt, the Netherlands, Sweden, The UK, Canada, and the US (Minneapolis, MN).
According to the FBI, money sent by the “Group of Fifteen” to Somalia (referred to as “Hargeisa side”) was used to fund al-Shabaab’s military operations in northern Somalia, while funds sent to Kenya (referred to as “Nairobi side”) was used to fund the terrorist group’s two safehouses. One of the safehouses was used to store weapons and prepare for attacks, while the second was used to treat al-Shabaab fighters injured in battle, according to evidence presented in court by the FBI.
The FBI said in court it built its case based on recorded phone calls and other communications among the “Group of Fifteen.”
The women were also recorded laughing and cheering as the 2013 terrorist attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that left 67 people dead was taking place. They were also recorded laughing at the Boston Marathon as authorities worked to find the attackers.