Cry me a river.
Fawzi Ayoub was a hijacker, international terrorist operative and senior member of Hezbollah. He was also a naturalized Canadian citizen, but on Monday Lebanese media reported he was dead, killed in an ambush by Syrian rebels.
The 48-year-old former Toronto supermarket employee, who rose through the ranks of Hezbollah despite his tendency for getting arrested before completing his missions, was declared a “martyr” on a Facebook page filled with photos of him in battle fatigues.
The Lebanese-Canadian had been on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist list since 2009, when he was indicted for using a false American passport to enter Israel “for the purpose of conducting a bombing” for Hezbollah, according to his wanted notice.
While several Canadian jihadists have died over the past year while fighting to topple President Bashar Al-Assad, Ayoub is the first known to have lost his life defending the dictator. He was reportedly killed in Aleppo on Sunday by the Western-backed Free Syrian Army.
Upon returning to Beirut in 2000, he was recruited into Hezbollah’s Islamic Jihad unit and trained for a mission to Israel. Using a fake U.S. passport that identified him as Frank Boschi, he made his way to Hebron. Israeli authorities claim he intended to assassinate the Israeli prime minister.
Arrested in July 2002, he was returned to Lebanon two years later as part of a prisoner swap that saw 436 Palestinians and Lebanese freed in exchange for kidnapped Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers abducted and killed by Hezbollah in 2000.
Television footage showed Ayoub disembarking from a plane at Beirut airport and kissing the hand of Hezbollah boss Hassan Nasrallah. “He said at one point he may [return to Canada] but that’s not in his immediate plans,” a spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said at the time.
But a return to Canada became all but impossible after he was charged by the United States and identified as a wanted terrorist. Instead he apparently was apparently given a command position, leading Hezbollah forces in northern Syria.