30th Belgian killed in Syria turns out to be Shariah4Belgium member again

Last weekend, Syria watcher Pieter Van Ostaeyen announced the death of the 30th Belgian foreign fighter on his Twitter account. But the identity of ‘Abu Sayyaf’, as the man was called, remained unknown.

Picture of Nabil Azahaf posted by companions after his death

Picture of Nabil Azahaf posted by companions after his death

Today the Belgian newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ revealed his true name and a bit of background. ISIS fighter ‘Abu Sayyaf’ or ‘Abu Sayeef’ turns out to be Nabil Azahaf, 21 years old and coming from the Brussels community of Saint Josse ten Noode. He is mentioned in the affidavit with which the public prosection has asked for a trial against 46 members of the now disbanded organization Shariah4Belgium, suspected of recruitment for the Syrian war.

Apart from being a member of a terrorist organization, Azahaf is also accused of complicity in kidnappings and murders in Syria. As far as known, those accusations are based on internet videos and testimony of Jejoen Bontinck, a fighter who says that he was abducted by his former comrades in Syria because he wanted to leave, escaped to Belgium and cooperated with the police.

Of the 46 people listed in the affidavit mentioned above, at least nine are killed in Syria now. Because their is no legal proof of death however, the complaints against them continue to exist. Before he went to Syria, Azahaf was active in martial arts, as much of his companions were. He practised Thai boxing in Brussels as a member of ‘Team AFC’.

Picture that appeared on Azahaf's Facebook account in 2011.

Picture that appeared on Azahaf’s Facebook account in 2011.