An American ISIS fighter appears in, and narrates, the latest propaganda video from the terrorist group, titled Flames of War, released on the internet Friday and which depicts captured Syrian soldiers being forced by ISIS militants to dig their own graves before the masked militants slaughter them.
U.S. intelligence services are feverishly attempting to track down the identity of the masked narrator who brandishes a semiautomatic handgun and speaks perfect English without an easily identifiable regional accent.
The ISIS fighter — who experts say could be either American or Canadian — is shown at the end of the nearly hour-long video cold-bloodedly executing his helpless prisoners. If indeed the man is American or Canadian, his horrific act would make him the first North American Islamic militant to be filmed while committing a blatant war crime.
One linguist who performed an informal analysis of the man’s speech patterns believes that he most likely hails from Minnesota, or possibly North Dakota if not Canada.
Minnesota has become a hotbed of ISIS sympathizers, with more than a dozen of what officials believe to be about 100 Americans now fighting with ISIS in the Middle East coming from the state — mostly from the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
According to the investigative news site The Intercept, which interviewed the linguistics expert, “the degree of fluency indicated the fighter must have either lived for an extended time or been raised in North America, as opposed to being raised by North American parents abroad.”
The linguist chose to remain anonymous because his opinion was based only a short portion of audio whose quality was not optimal. The expert also said that he believes that though the man in the video speaks fluent English, he may not be a native speaker, leaving open the possibility that the man was born in an Arab or African country bit was educated in the United States or Canada and has lived in North America from a young age.
Many of the Minnesota residents believed to now be ISIS members are of Somali descent. The man in the video shows only his eyes and the area around them, as well as the index finger of his right hand, revealing darkly colored skin.
The Flames of War video is also notable because the English-speaking narrator directly challenges the United States to a military showdown, promising to “force” the United States into a “direct confrontation” with ISIS sometime in “the near future.”
The release of the sophisticated 55-minute ISIS propaganda film featuring the apparently American narrator follows a shorter, Hollywood-style “trailer” for the film posted online Wednesday. Below is a CNN report on the apparently American ISIS fanatic.