An American college graduate said to be a recruiter and key operative in ISIS’ media operations and who was wanted by the FBI was killed in a coalition airstrike in January, the Islamic State confirmed.
Ahmad Abousamra, 36, a French-born dual U.S.-Syrian citizen has been wanted by the FBI since 2013 over conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and conspiracy to kill U.S. soldiers overseas.
The terror group claims Abousama was killed in a coalition airstrike in Syria earlier this year, as he is eulogized in the latest edition of Islamic State’s propaganda magazine “Rumiyah,” in a piece entitled, “Among the Believers Are Men.”
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.”
Abousamra, the son of a well-known Massachusetts endocrinologist, was raised in a high-end Boston suburb, attending private Catholic high school and making the Dean’s List at Northeastern University.
In 2004, he travelled 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.
He later returned to the U.S. and in 2006 graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Degree in Computer Science.
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.
In 2013, he was added to the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist’s list with a reward of $50,000 offered for information that could lead to his capture.
The article closes with a tribute to Abousmra, lauding his actions and imprint on ‘media jihad’. “He departed, having known that media is for calling people to Allah, guiding them to
His cause, and inciting them to kill His enemies,”
Since the launch of the online magazine in September 2016, Rumiyah, Arabic for Rome and a reference to an Islamic prophecy that foretells the downfall of Rome, has introduced a section “Just terror tactics,” dedicated to training militants on how to launch ‘DIY style’ or ‘do it yourself,’ terror attacks. Previous editions have included ‘Knife jihad’ and a tutorial on how to launch the most effective truck ramming attack.