An American member of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) terrorist group was killed this past weekend, while fighting against an organization tied to al-Qaeda. Douglas McArthur McCain, a 33-year-old San Diego man, was found with a U.S. passport and $800 cash in his pocket.
McCain was one of three foreign members of the terrorist collective to die in the jihadist battle over the weekend. NBC News viewed photos of the passport and McCain’s body, noting a distinctive tattoo on his neck. His family was informed of his death Monday (Aug. 25), although the U.S. State Department said that it has not yet publicly confirmed the report.
“There’s a process that needs to be gone through before any confirmation can be made and I won’t have any more information at this time,” Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the department said.
McCain’s uncle, Ken McCain, said that the family is “devastated” to learn of his death, and no idea that he joined an Islamic extremist group. One family member was aware that he was traveling to Syria, but didn’t know why. “The reason for the trip was hidden from me,” the person told the New York Daily News. “I didn’t think anything of it. All was with him. He’s been overseas before, so I figured he would be back like before.”
Born in Illinois, and raised in Minnesota, McCain was described as a “goof ball in high school.” He remained in the twin cities after high graduation, and converted to Islam in 2004. Although he reportedly attended San Diego City college, it is unclear when McCain made his way to California.
NBC News reports that McCain used the name “Duale TheslaveofAllah” on social media and never appeared to show any alarmingly strong political views, but was open about his religious beliefs.
After a year of silence on Twitter, McCain retweeted a speech from an ISIS leader in May of this year. He later traveled to Turkey, which is said to be a popular route to Syria for jihadist. It was also pointed out that McCain was a rapper in some capacity, who performed in Sweden.
There are an estimated 7,000 foreigners, many of whom are American and European, fighting alongside militant groups in Syria.