Saudi doctor who joined ISIS killed: reports

The doctor-turned-jihadist may have been responding to a call from ISIS’s leader for skilled Muslims to join the group

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A Saudi national who had previously worked as a doctor before joining the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has been killed, according to social media accounts on Monday.

It is not clear how Faisal bin Shaman al-Aanzi died was killed. But militants of ISIS, which has recently declared an “Islamic caliphate” in areas it controls between Iraq and Syria, are engaged in continuous fighting against various military forces in Iraq and Syria.


According to one account, he was blown up in a booby-trapped car, while another account said he was killed while tending to injured militants in an ISIS base which was shelled.

Aanzi may have been responding to a call issued earlier this month by ISIS’s leader and self-appointed caliph, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for skilled Muslims - including doctors and engineers - to flock to its newly-declared pan-Islamic state.

 فيصل بن شامان العنزي
فيصل بن شامان العنزي

“Those who can immigrate to the Islamic State should immigrate, as immigration to the house of Islam is a duty,” said Baghdadi.

The ISIS chief added that his appeal especially applied to “judges and those who have military and managerial and service skills, and doctors and engineers in all fields.”

Although the group has for some months ruled areas of Syria under its own hardline version of Sharia law, with strict laws banning alcohol and tobacco, and harsh punishments for violators, its shock takeover of Iraq’s second largest city of Mosul in early June gave the group a firm foothold to establish its expansive pan-Islamic state.

As well as attempting to invade more territory further into Iraq and Syria, the group has set its sights on organized governance – reportedly tearing down security barriers to open roads, restoring electricity lines, and paying municipal employees.

Life with ISIS

In addition, ISIS is also reportedly issuing its own passports to the some-11,000 citizens under its rule, and has established a print and online newspaper published in different languages.

According to a security analyst who had access to documents recently seized from the house of a senior ISIS figure, ISIS also pays and organizes itself like a corporation, with specific roles, a geographic location to work in, and salaries paid to employees.

Depending on the position filled, wages in ISIS range from $300 to $2,000 a month – a considerable amount in a country where government workers were last year reported to make only $400.

However, those wishing to illicitly enrich themselves through an ISIS position may be in for a surprise. Last month, the group executed and crucified one of its own for “extorting money at checkpoints by accusing drivers of apostasy.”

Money threat

But despite its levels of organization and structure – unusual among jihadist groups – some doubt the group will be able to sustain and govern its increasing vast swathes of territory.

Although its financial operations robbing banks and charging trucks a tax to cross its borders, the group is unlikely to have enough resources to continue operating to its current level, according to Charles Ries, a former U.S. ambassador who serves as a vice-president at the Rand Corp think tank.

“I don't see that [the current] situation as sustainable from the economic standpoint,” Ries said, according to the website of U.S. channel CNBC.

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