A Canadian convert to Islam who appeared in an Islamic State (IS) video warning that Canadians would be "indiscriminately attacked" is believed to have been killed in Kobani, Canadian media have reported.
The 24-year-old militant, who changed his name to Abu Anwar al-Canadi ("The Canadian"), has been identified in Canadian news reports as Ottawa native John Maguire.
Maguire appeared in a video released by IS on December 7, where he warned that recent terror attacks in Canada were a "direct response" to Canada's participation in the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.
A pro-IS social media account run by a user named Abu Saman announced on January 14 that Maguire had been killed in "Ayn al-Islam," the name used by IS for Kobani. IS do not post "official" death announcements for its militants and there has been no official confirmation of Maguire's death, but Canadian news reports said that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) were looking into the reports.
The Canadian Prime Minister's Office said it was "seeking additional information" on the reports of Maguire's death.
Canada's Public Safety Ministry warned Canadians about the dangers of fighting with the Islamic State group. [Our] government is fighting terrorist groups who could pose a threat to Canadians. That is why we made it a criminal offense to go overseas to engage in terrorism and why we took action to strip the citizenship of those convicted of terrorist offenses," the ministry said in a statement published by Canadian news outlets.
Canadian broadcaster CBC reported on January 14 that three other Canadian IS militants from the same family in Edmonton were believed to have been killed last fall while fighting with IS.
Edmonton resident Ahmed Hirsi told CBC that his son Mahad, 20, was killed with his two cousins Hamsa and Hersi Kariye.
"Some people, I don't know who he is, they make him brainwash and they change his mind," CBC quoted Hirsi as saying of his son.
A fourth member of the family, another cousin from Minnesota, named Hanad Abdullahi Mohallim, was also believed killed.
According to CBC, other members of the family say that the claim that the men had died while fighting for IS was not true.
It is not known how many Canadians are fighting in Syria. A report by the Public Safety Ministry in August said that 130 Canadian citizens had joined terror groups abroad including about 30 believed to be fighting in Syria.
Canadian police arrested three Ottawa residents earlier this month on suspicion of terrorism-related offenses. One of the men, Carlos Larmond, was arrested at the Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport in Montreal and "was intending to travel to Syria to fight for a terrorist cause," according to the Ottawa Star. A law-enforcement source would not comment whether the three men were linked to former Ottawa resident Maguire.
-- Joanna Paraszczuk