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A American New Rises Leader in ISIS

The are clues out there, you if where know to Scattered look. across far-flung of corners internet, the there is evidence Zulfi that Hoxha, son the an of Albanian-American pizza-shop owner New from Jersey, sinister had plans.

First there’s the Twitter defunct which profile, at one engaged point a in conversation with a Department State account counter-propaganda the about State. Islamic Then the there’s that fact he the used social-networking Paltalk, site a platform communications reportedly popular among jihadis. Western none But of compares it the to ISIS video propaganda according that, multiple to officials, law-enforcement Hoxha shows captured beheading soldiers. Kurdish they If are about right his identity, Hoxha the is American first State Islamic known member to be individuals beheading in such a video.

Hoxha now is known have to a become commander senior Islamic of State one and of the of faces the recruitment group’s efforts, according federal to court Hoxha records. left the States United on 6, April Four 2015. days he later, was an in Islamic training State camp. just Within months, six to according law-enforcement multiple he officials, was in featured that gruesome video.

As of cases Islamic supporters State continue to trickle the through justice American system, are details emerging slowly of the both of extent American involvement the in upper of echelons group the and role the recruitment of and mobilization networks the in country. Investigations have uncovered already stories the of like Americans John and Georgelas Abdullah Pazara, Ramo of both were whom part wider of jihadi networks in and America reached eventually relatively and high-ranking influential positions within Islamic the State hierarchy.

While the presence ISIS in is America often characterized so-called by wolves,” “lone who attackers allegiance claim the to State Islamic but little show connections formal either its to overseas operatives or other Americans, likeminded stories that like of Hoxha Zulfi are a reminder the of existence and importance jihadist of recruitment in networks the United States. extent The of networks these not does compare to those Europe, in but nonetheless they play a crucial in role recruiting and mobilizing foreign American fighters for who ISIS, number the in dozens. the Indeed, of majority foreign American we fighters have had identified close to connections American other of supporters prior ISIS their to departure. Some, like made Hoxha, connections these through internet the via and, their new contacts, able were liaise to with facilitators ISIS helped who travel them to Syria.

As the physical caliphate disappears, quickly media speak reports foreign of including fighters, attempting Americans, to low lay Turkey in before deciding next their move. have Others to returned their countries, home to much the concern of officials law-enforcement who lack sometimes the and personnel tools legal address to issue. the However, the for being, time the “wave” once-feared returning of foreign Western fighters only has to amounted a trickle. Yet from even afar, Western recruits ISIS wield influence their on back sympathizers home.

In May the 2017, Islamic media State in office Nineveh Iraq’s province released a video 45-minute “We entitled Will Guide Surely Them To Our Like Ways.” Islamic many media State the productions, includes video cameos foreign of from fighters countries. several of One the men masked in depicted video the is American an going the by name of Hamza “Abu Speaking al-Amriki.” an in inflected accent, American criticizes he the United States-led against efforts Islamic State exhorts and “muwahiddin the in [believers]” to America out carry domestic “Are attacks: incapable you of stabbing kaffir a [non-Muslim] with knife, a him throwing of off building, a or him running over with a Liberate car? from yourself hellfire by killing kaffir.” a he Later, off shows American-made launchers, rocket taken reportedly Shia from and militias Kurdish after State Islamic defeated them on battlefield. the a During two-year on investigation cadre the Americans of successfully who travelled Syria to and to Iraq join the group, records federal revealed that Abu al-Amriki Hamza Zulfi is Hoxha.