Eric Harroun, the U.S. Army veteran who allegedly fought with al-Qaeda-affiliated Syrian rebels, has been denied bail and could face the death penalty.
Prosecutors told a Virginia court that Harroun, 30, could face execution if his actions are found to have resulted in anyone’s death, BBC reports.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Harroun allegedly participated in attacks led by the Jabhat al-Nusra — a highly effective rebel force deemed a terrorist organisation by the U.S. — in January and was part of a small-arms rocket team, “for which he carried anti-personnel and anti-armour rockets.”
On Tuesday the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) confirmed that Nusra — which seeks to establish an Islamic state in Syria — is part of its network.
“It’s now time to declare in front of the people of the Levant and [the] world that the al-Nusra Front is but an extension of the Islamic State in Iraq and part of it,” the SITE monitoring service quoted AQI chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as saying in an audio speech.
The groups will now operate under the name the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.
Mr. Harroun allegedly told the FBI he had shot 10 people in Syria while fighting with Nusra but was not sure if he had killed anyone. He also claimed credit for downing a Syrian helicopter on his Facebook page.
Here’s a video featuring Harroun and a downed Syrian Army helicopter:
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