Wednewsday October 8, 2014WASHINGTON--The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said Tuesday it is seeking the U.S. public's help to identify an English-speaking man who appeared in a propaganda video released by the militant organization Islamic State (IS).
In the IS video released online on Sept. 19, a man whose face is masked alternates seamlessly between English and Arabic in pro- IS pronouncements. Dressed in desert camouflage and wearing a shoulder holster, the man stood in front of a group of Syrian prisoners digging their own graves and then later presided over their executions.
"We're hoping that someone might recognize this individual and provide us with key pieces of information," said Michael Steinbach, assistant director of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division.
The FBI is also asking for the public's help to identify individuals who have traveled -- or are planning to travel -- overseas to engage in combat alongside terrorist organizations.
"We need the public's assistance in identifying U.S. persons going to fight overseas with terrorist groups or who are returning home from fighting overseas," said Steinbach.
As the U.S. forces are launching air strikes against IS targets in Iraq and Syria, the fear about revenge attacks by the IS against U.S. targets both at home and overseas has increased. The U.S. government is vigilant against possible attacks launched by IS terrorists who are either American citizens or Europeans who do not need to get a visa to travel to the United States.
FBI Director James Comey has said that about a dozen Americans are known to be fighting in Syria with the IS.
Indeed, the threat of U.S. citizens traveling overseas to fight alongside terrorist groups is not new. Two years ago, a Chicago man was imprisoned for planning to travel to Somalia in 2010 to join the terror group al-Shabaab.
Last year, an Albanian man living in Brooklyn, New York was sentenced to 15 years for attempting to travel to Pakistan to engage in violent jihad. Last month, a New York man pled guilty to attempting to travel to Yemen in 2012 to support al-Qaida. On Saturday, a 19-year-old Chicago man was arrested at the airport for allegedly attempting to travel overseas to join the IS.