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Then and Now: Comparing the Flow of Foreign Fighters to AQI and the Islamic State

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Technical Report

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U.S. Military Academy -Combating Terrorism Center West Point United States

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It is not known if Ahmad Abd al-Sayyid Hamad and Murad Khalid al-Tayhi knew each another. Yet, they shared a common bond. A number of factors about the two young men were similar. Both were from Libya, and both grew up in the eastern city of Darnah. In search of adventure and greater purpose, both also decided to leave their homesand they were some of the first ones from their town to go. They ended up in a similar place Ahmad in Iraq and Murad in Syria. Their common bond Both wanted to become suicide bombers, albeit at different times, for the group that now calls itself the Islamic State. Despite the connections that these two Libyans shared, there are also a number of important differences between them. When Ahmad left home he was 23 Murad was 15, eight years younger. Seven years, and multiple twists and turns in world events, separated their journeys. Ahmad arrived in Iraq on the same day as three other Libyans who were likely his travel companions Murad, however, appears to have been the only Libyan foreign fighter to arrive in Syria on the day he entered that country. Lastly, while they both ended up with derivatives of the same organization, the groups that Ahmad and Murad volunteered to serve were run differently and had different levels of appeal.

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