U.S.-educated Islamic State propagandist killed in Syria

FILE PHOTO: Ahmad Abousamra, 31, a dual U.S./Syrian citizen from Mansfield, Massachusetts, is seen in this FBI handout photo taken in 2004. REUTERS/FBI/Handout

CAIRO (Reuters) - A U.S.-Syrian Islamic State militant who helped run an online media campaign disseminating jihadist material to sympathizers around the world from its self-declared caliphate has been killed in Syria, the group said.

Ahmad Abousamra was killed in early January when a missile struck a house where he was staying north of the Syrian city of Tabqa, according to Islamic State publications including the English language online magazine Rumiyah which he helped set up.

Abousamra, 35, was born in Paris but brought up in Boston, Massachusetts, where he studied computer science, Rumiyah said. He traveled to Yemen, Pakistan and Iraq before returning to the United States, but fled after his plans for an armed attack with two accomplices on U.S. soil were uncovered.

At the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011 he fought in the northern city of Aleppo, before joining the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, and then switching allegiance to Islamic State.

He helped set up publications including Dabiq, the Islamic State online magazine named after a village in Syria where an Islamic prophecy says a battle will be fought between Muslims and infidels, heralding doomsday. Islamic State fighters were driven from the village six months ago.

The FBI offered $50,000 for information leading to Abousamra’s capture after he was charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, and conspiracy to kill in a foreign country.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty; Writing by Dominic Evans; Editing by Louise Ireland