By Alistair Bell and Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Somali-American who joined Islamic State as a fighter is alive and still trying to recruit young men from Minnesota to join him, law enforcement officials and a Somali community leader said, despite a report that he might have been killed in Syria.
Abdi Nur, 20, who left Minneapolis for Syria last year, is frequently in touch online with young Somalis in Minnesota to try to entice them to join IS, Twin Cities Somali community elder Omar Jamal said.
"I am sure he is in touch with people as we speak right now," Jamal told Reuters on Monday. He said local Somali youths had told him that Nur had been in contact with members of the community in recent days.
Despite a report in March that said Nur might be dead, several federal law enforcement officials said they believe he was still alive. They said the investigation into Islamic State recruitment efforts in Minneapolis was continuing.
Nur played a role in an alleged plot by six Americans of Somali origin to travel to Syria and take up arms with the Islamic State, according to a court document released after the men's arrest in Minnesota and San Diego on Sunday.
Nur communicated with a person in Minnesota via the social media app Kik and also tried to help some of the arrested men obtain false passports to allow them to travel to Syria via Mexico, the criminal complaint said.
One of the arrested men, Guled Ali Omar, was cited as telling other members of the conspiracy in a recorded conversation on March 16 that he thought Nur may have died in Syria because communication with him had been cut.
Prosecutors said there was no evidence the six who were arrested on Sunday had plans to carry out any attacks inside the United States.