The Army veteran who fought alongside rebels in Syria, only to be later accused of joining Al Qaeda-linked terrorists by the U.S., has died in Arizona of unknown causes, his family told ABC News.
Eric Harroun, 32, succumbed to an “accidental overdose” according to his sister, but an official cause had not yet been released.
The Phoenix-born man was first spotted in late 2012 by U.S. intelligence after he appeared in Youtube videos alongside Syrian fighters. In one such video, Harroun was the lone English speaker celebrating amongst rebels who had apparently downed a regime helicopter.
During a break in fighting in 2013, Harroun met with U.S. embassy officials in Turkey, who convinced him to return home, where he was arrested by the FBI. He was later charged with “conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the U.S.” due to his use of a rocket-propelled grenade in Syria.
But the government’s case fell apart, as it learned Harroun was found to be fighting with a resistance group not aligned with Al Qaeda, according to ABC. He was released following a secret plea deal.
A former soldier who was discharged after a vehicle accident, Harroun converted to Islam while attending community college in Tucson.
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