Former Dearborn resident Faouzi Ayoub, 47, one of only 30 people listed on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, died while fighting with Hezbollah to help Syrian President Bashar Assad battle opposition forces, according to reports.
Ayoub, who was under federal indictment for passport fraud after he attempted to bomb Israel, was a senior commander with the Lebanese militant group, Reuters reports.
Ayoub lived in Dearborn for several years after marrying a woman from Detroit. He was indicted in 2009 on one count of passport fraud after allegedly using a forged passport to enter Israel, where he planned to participate in a bombing on behalf of Hezbollah, a Shiite militant group the Christian Science Monitor said is one of the most powerful armies in the world.
Ayoub’s known aliases included Fawzi Mohammed Mustafa Ayoub, Faouzi Mohamed Ayoub, Fawzi Mohamad Ayoub, Hussein Ahmed Mustafa Ayoub, Abu Fawaz, Abu Fuaz, Abu Ahmed, Hajj Faouzi, Ziyad Khoury, Frank Mariano Boschi, Frank Marion Bushi, Housein Iyoub, Huseein Ayyub and Frank Boschi, according to the FBI web site.
The Detroit Free Press said the FBI would not confirm reports that Ayoub was killed while fighting to help Syria’s government, but a Twitter account tied to Hezbollah described him as a martyr who was killed in battle.
Ayoub has a history of terrorism dating back nearly 30 years, the Free Press said. In 1986, he was convicted in Romania of trying to hijack an Iraqi airplane ready to take off from Bucharest, according to testimony before a subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 2012.
Ayoub was detained, but his partner escaped capture and crashed the jet in Saudi Arabia, killing 60 people, the Free Press said, citing Cold Terror, a book by Canadian journalist Stewart Bell that includes sections about Ayoub.
Ayoub fled to Canada in 1988 under a program for Lebanese refugees that is harshly criticized in Bell’s book. He lived there until he married and moved to Dearborn.