A video released Wednesday by the ISIS affiliate in Somalia showed a man it said was a doctor from Canada urging supporters to “get on the path of jihad.”
The 15-minute propaganda video introduced him as Dr. Youssef Al Majeerteyn and said he had “died bravely.” A man then spoke to the camera in Canadian-sounding English.
Wearing a stethoscope and seated in front of a rifle and ISIS flag, he encouraged “brothers and sisters” to join the terrorist group, which has a small presence in Somalia.
It did not say how he died but the United States military has been conducting airstrikes in Somalia targeting ISIS and Al Shabab, which claimed responsibility for last week’s attack in Nairobi.
Canadian terrorism researcher Amarnath Amarasingam said the video was one of the first to acknowledge that Western foreign fighters were active in the so-called Somalia province of ISIS.
“I suspect we may see more of this going forward as ISIS provinces outside Syria and Iraq start to attract some foreign fighters,” said Amarasingam, a senior fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue.
“It won’t be in great numbers like Syria but there will be a trickle, I’m sure.”
WATCH: Toronto-area woman admits in court that attack at Canadian Tire was ‘for ISIS’
More than a decade ago, a handful of Canadians travelled to Somalia to join Al Shabab. Syria and Iraq later became the preferred destination for would-be jihadists.
But with ISIS dislodged from most of Iraq, and surrounded in northeastern Syria, extremists appear to be attempting to join the affiliates that have sprung up in Africa and Asia.
On Monday, the FBI arrested three Michigan men on terrorism charges. One was caught at the airport in Grand Rapids as he was allegedly leaving to join ISIS in Somalia.
The government’s 2018 Public Report on the Terrorism Threat to Canada, released last month, said extremists “inspired by violent Sunni Islamist ideology” remained Canada’s top terrorism threat.
The report said an estimated 190 “extremist travelers” were abroad — about half of them in Syria, Iraq and Turkey while another 60 have returned to Canada.
Last week, a Toronto woman who had tried to join ISIS admitted in court to attacking people at a Canadian Tire in 2017.