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Former kickboxing champ turned jihadist dies in Syria-Swiss TV
July 6, 2015 / 8:00 PM / 2 years ago

Former kickboxing champ turned jihadist dies in Syria-Swiss TV

ZURICH (Reuters) - A former world champion kickboxer who left his home and family in Germany to join up with Middle East jihadists has died in Syria, Swiss television reported on Monday, citing his brother.

Valdet Gashi died last Saturday under circumstances that remain unclear, SRF, the Swiss public broadcaster, said.

According to media accounts, the 29-year-old German of Albanian descent linked up with Islamic State militants in January. In a telephone interview with SRF last month, he said he was trying to help build a modern calpihate in Syria.

“If I die while doing good, I of course will be glad,” it quoted him as saying at the time.

A U.N. report issued in May said that some 20,000-22,000 foreign fighters are active in the Syria-Iraq conflict zone alone, where Islamic State has taken over swaths of territory.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Alison Williams

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