An American couple who joined the Islamic State in Syria were killed in an airstrike over the weekend, depriving the terror army of one of its most conspicuous woman recruiters and propagandists.
Umm Issa Al-Amrikiah, who maintained her own social media channel, and her husband, Abu Issa Al-Amriki, were killed in a strike on their home, according to Islamic State posts on social media.
“Umm Issa Al-Amrikiah was one of the first and a leading American ISIS sympathizer to be very active on Telegram,” said Steve Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), using an acronym for the Islamic State.
Telegram is one of Islamic State’s favorite platforms. Created by an exile Russian tech entrepreneur, Telegram is encrypted against interception by the U.S. or anyone else. It offers secure messaging and media channels through which Islamic State followers and members can plan operations, recruit and view propaganda. Amrikiah had attracted over 1,000 followers on Telegram, considered a large number for a private platform devoted to killing people.
There are no available photos of the pair. But researchers believe they were American based on their messages, what other jihadis say about them on social media and on the fact their deaths were announced in various Islamic State-linked channels on Telegram.
For months she maintained active social media accounts and was trying to recruit Belgian Muslims a few days before the Islamic State, also known was ISIL, bombed the Brussels airport and subway train on March 22. After the slaughter of 32 innocents, Amrikiah justified the attack on social media.
The U.S. government said last year that about 250 Americans have attempted to joint Islamic State in Syria, with nearly 20 percent of them women.
Islamic State propagandist Omar Hussain, a former British grocery store security guard, instructed women interested in traveling to Syria, Islamic State’s homebase, to watch Amrikiah’s channel.
“She is a wife of a Mujahid who is also very active on da’wah [propaganda] and helping people in,” Hussain posted, according to a translation by MEMRI. “She is available for advice on hijrah [migration] as well as general information about Sham [Syria]. It is, however, advised that sisters from the West use multiple accounts prior [to] doing hijrah to delete their account they were using to msg the sister.”
Hussain was ordered offline by Islamic State higher-ups as punishment for saying on social media that it was too difficult to enter Syria through Turkey and that jihadis should travel to Libya instead.
Amrikiah and her husband’s deaths were announced on social media. The writer expressed hope the two are now in paradise.
“I confirmed it that brother Abu Isa Al Amriki and his wife Umm Isa Al Amrikiah were hit in their house by the airstrikes and they both attained shahadah [martyrdom] few days ago,” said one post. “May Allah grant both of them shahada and make them enter jannatal firdous [paradise]. He was a really helpful brother.”
Another female Islamic State member, Umm Sayyaf, held an online chat on April 10 with Amrikiah, who said she “can’t wait” to attain martyrdom.
“May we all die in dar al Islam Ameen [land of Islam],” she said.
Sadly, from the West’s standpoint, there are many
American Muslim women willing to take her place by creating multiple media accounts and acting as an active recruiter and propagandist, Mr. Stalinsky said.
On April 23 we retweeted a separate post about two “American” jihadists reportedly killed in airstrikes in Yemen. It’s unclear who they were but if they were different from the two jihadis above, that would be four American jihadis taken out in the last week.