An Iranian refugee who came to the United States in 2009 was fighting for the Islamic State group when he was killed in Lebanon last year, investigators said.
Details about Adnan Fazeli, 38, who also went by the names Abu Nawaf and Abu Abdullah Al-Ahwazi, were revealed in newly unsealed court documents filed in federal court in Portland, Maine, the Portland Press Herald reported.
Fazeli, a Muslim who was most recently a Freeport, resident, became radicalized while living in the United States, the newspaper reported.
Fazeli fled Iran around 2007 after being told he was to be arrested for being a dissident.
He went to Syria and then Lebanon, ultimately arriving in the United States in 2009, and he didn’t adjust well, according to the affidavit.
Fazeli told an informant he felt Iran was anti-Sunni but the United States wasn’t helping the situation.
While in America Fazeli converted to Wahhabism, a strict sect of Sunni Islam.
His family, belonging to the Shia sect of Islam and was never devout to the religion, the affidavit said.
Fazeli came under FBI investigation for his connection to Islamic State shortly after leaving his job at at Dubai Auto in Portland and flying to Turkey in August 2013.
He never came back.
Fazeli died in battle in January 2015 as a member of an Islamic State force of about 150.
The group was turned away by the Lebanese army and Fazeli was killed in a battle near Ras Baalbek, Lebanon.
Fazeli’s 25-year-old nephew Ebrahim Fazeli said his uncle was an ‘educated, smart guy’ who had become more religious, but relatives didn’t realize he had become radicalized.
The family learned what Adnan Fazeli was up to when he contacted his wife from overseas, Ebrahim Fazeli said.
Ebrahim Fazeli said that’s when he contacted the FBI, because he feared for his aunt and the couple’s three children.
‘I wanted to protect them from him,’ Ebrahim Fazeli said. ‘It was very clear to me that they weren’t important to him.’
The Press Herald reported that the details of Fazeli’s case were never revealed publicly before and were contained in an affidavit that was filed in U.S. District Court in Portland in October and unsealed on Monday.
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