A Islamic State fighter who was once described by friends as “an all around good guy” says in a new video that he and his fellow militants "love drinking blood" and "love dying for Allah."
Rabie Shehada, now reportedly nicknamed the “Palestinian slayer,” posted a video online in which he declared the radical Islamist group’s “love” for death.
“I swear we are a people who love death for the sake of Allah just as you love to live. I swear we are a people who love drinking blood. We came to slaughter you,” Shehada said in the video which was translated by Al Arabiya.
“We love dying for Allah as much as you love life,” he said.
Shehada, 26, is from Nazareth in northern Israel according to Israeli media and Al Arabiya.
The Israeli news site Ynet reported that Shehada left his wife and newborn son in Israel last year to travel to Syria via Turkey.
A high school friend told Ynet that Shehada was “one of the best students in class and was at the top in almost every subject,” describing him as “an all around good guy.”
“He never hurt anyone and even had Jewish friends with whom he was in regular contact,” the friend said.
Al Arabiya reported that Shehada dropped out of college where he was studying engineering. It further noted that Shehada at first joined the moderate Free Syrian Army rebel group, but later switched to the Islamic State.
Shehada’s hometown of Nazareth has a predominantly Muslim population, with a Christian minority of about 30%.
The unnamed friend expressed concern about Shehada’s return.
"Everyone knows that [the Islamic State] murders Christians and still search them out in everyplace they arrive,” the friend said.
Israel media have reported that an estimated 10 Arab citizens of Israel are currently fighting with the Islamic State group.
The video of Shehada can be seen below. A version with English subtitles can be seen at Al Arabiya.