Australian Dr Jihad ‘killed fighting for ISIS’
AUSTRALIA's so-called Dr Jihad, Tareq Kamleh may have been killed in Syria.
Several Islamic State fighters are tweeting that Kamleh, who took the name Abu Yousef al-Australie when he joined IS, had been killed in the final battle of Raqqa in September and October last year.
The reports are unverified.
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was aware of the reports of Kamleh's death. "The Australian Government is aware of reports that an Australian fighting in the Syrian conflict zone may have been killed,'' she told News Corp.
"The Government's access to the region and and ability to assess reports is limited.''
More than 80 Australians are believed to have been killed in Iraq and Syria after signing up as foreign fighters, but their deaths are almost always impossible to verify.
There has been no public word of the Perth-born, Adelaide-trained doctor since July last year, when he resurfaced in an Islamic State propaganda video.
The reports of Kamleh's death appear to have started when a young man who uses social media to report the war in Syria tweeted that he had been speaking to a notorious Turkish foreign fighter, Abu Muhammad al-Turki, who he had erroneously reported as dead.
Nidal Guzaui, a German-based Middle East observer, said in fact al-Turki was alive and he posted photographs of the fighter showing him apparently being treated in hospital in Raqqa, including for a large arm wound which he said had been treated by "Abu Yousef al-Australie.''
The photos of al-Turki triggered responses from other Islamic State fighters, including one who indicated Kamleh was dead.
"Brother Abu Yousef al-Australi, may Allah accept him, treating the wounds of his brother. The whispers of shahada are drawing closer and closer, block by block. They remain unphased,'' said one English-language interpretation, apparently from a fighter calling himself Abu Muqatil al-Amriki.
Kamleh, aged 32 or 33, the son of a Palestinian father and a German mother, was born in Perth, and graduated from the University of Adelaide in 2010 with a medical degree.
He worked at the Women's and Children's Hospital in Adelaide and the Mackay Base Hospital in Queensland, where he gained a reputation as a lazy worker and a playboy.
In 2015, at the height of Islamic State's rampage across Iraq and Syria, he left to join the terror group, his blue eyes and English-language skills used as a propaganda tool by the group, which regularly featured him in videos urging attacks on the West or for people to travel to Syria to become foreign fighters.
A warrant was issued for his arrest in Australia in 2015 which accuses him of three offences - being a member of a terrorist organisation, recruiting for a terrorist organisation and entering an area declared a terrorism zone (Raqqa).
Several video interviews with Kamleh, including one showing him carefully treating a tiny baby inside a hospital in Raqqa, the IS headquarters in Syria, were distributed for propaganda purposes.
He responded to the arrest warrant and the suspension of his medical registration in 2015 by taking to his Facebook page to declare: "I anticipated an arrest warrant, hence why I left in secret.
"None of the case you put forward has indicated to me a malicious character on my behalf and it is this injustice within the Australian judicial system that was a catalyst for me to leave.''
"Do as you please, I no longer consider myself an Australian.
"The continuous bombing of civilian targets here by the coalition has done nothing but disappoint me of the country I once loved so much. Regards, Tareq Kamleh.''