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November 22, 2013

New Al Qaeda Video Underscores Threat of Americans Joining Terror Groups In Syria

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Man identified as Abu Dujana al-Amriki in ISIS video

An English language video glorifying Islamist rebel groups in Syria and apparently featuring an American was released earlier this month by The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), an Al Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria.

The video is part of a new wave of English language recruitment materials by Islamist rebels in Syria and comes at a time of increased concern about Americans and other Westerners travelling to Syria to fight.

The video features an apparently American man with the nom de guerre Abu Dujana al-Amriki. Holding a rifle, he addresses his message “to the people of the West…from the mujahideen (religious fighters) in Syria.” Encouraging others to join, he says that “We’ve come here from all nationalities to defend this land…to spread the Shariah (religious law) of Allah on the face of the earth, and to give our lives and our souls for this jihad and to Jannah (Paradise).”

The video also adds strength to concerns that foreign fighters based in Syria may eventually return to pose a threat to their home countries. In the second part of his speech, al-Amriki states that, “With these simple weapons we will free these lands, and free these people, and we’ll bring the right of Islam to rule all of the entire world, over Europe and America, over Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa,” adding, “And with these weapons we’ll kill the infidels.”

The video comes amidst reports of “dozens” of Americans travelling to Syria and, if true, would indicate that al-Amriki is the 7th named American to have travelled or attempted to travel to Syria this year. Both his presence and his remarks underscore the threat of American citizens and permanent residents travelling to Syria and elsewhere to join terrorist organizations including Jabhat al-Nusra, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and Al Shabaab.

The video concludes with the image of a dead fighter, whom it claims is al-Amriki.

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