President Donald Trump’s military campaign against ISIS has claimed its biggest victory yet: dropping a bomb on an American citizen who went overseas to fight for ISIS.
Ahmad Abousamra was an American citizen who has been on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorist” list since 2013, after his efforts to help ISIS kill American soldiers was exposed. Abousamra lived in Boston, but was able to flee the country before the FBI could arrest him. He then went to Syria, and reportedly handled ISIS’ social media accounts, including YouTube and Twitter. He is also suspected of being a lead recruiter for ISIS.
Abousamra, 36, was killed in a coalition airstrike in Syria earlier this year, the Islamic State confirmed in the latest issue of their magazine “Rumiyah.” He was eulogized with the statement “Among the Believers Are Men.”
Abousamra came from a wealthy family and lived in an affluent Boston suburb. He was born in France, but held dual citizenship in Syria and the U.S. His father is a well-known Massachusetts doctor, and he attended a Catholic high school. He is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts.
The FBI put Abousamra on their “most wanted” list after be accused of providing material support to ISIS. He is also accused of plotting to kill U.S. soldiers overseas.
Abousamra, known by many aliases but referred to by the Islamic State as Abu Sulayman ash-Shami, is described by the publication as one of the pioneers of the “Rumiyah” magazine, “the goal of which was to expand the Islamic State’s reach by releasing one magazine in several languages” according to an article marking his death.
The article claims Abousamra attempted to launch an attack in the U.S. but the plot was discovered ‘days before the operation,’ and he fled the U.S. “before the FBI could gather sufficient information to release an order for his arrest.”
In 2004, he traveled to Iraq with the intention of joining Al Qaeda and aiming to kill U.S. soldiers. The terror group assigned him to its media wing making use of his foreign language and computer skills.
After moving through various rebel factions in Syria, Abousamra eventually joined the Islamic State where he was known affectionately as Abu Sulayman “al-Halabi.” The group describes his early involvement as organizing foreign language divisions aimed at educating Muslims in the West about the Islamic State and encouraging Hijrah (moving to the Islamic State).
Beginning with English translations of Islamic State news bulletins, ISIS swiftly moved to other forms of propaganda including the online “Dabiq” magazine lauded by the group as a publication “which attained global popularity and peerless success.” Abousamra served as chief editor.
But after being questioned later that year by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force he fled the U.S. and in 2009 was indicted and charged in abstentia with terrorism-related offenses for overseas trips to Pakistan and Yemen where he had attempted to obtain terrorist training.