A twentysomething Islamic State (IS) fighter from Calgary who was reported dead is alive and well and says that fellow combatants are planning an attack in New York.
In an interview with Vice News founder Shane Smith, Farah Mohamed Shirdon said IS has as many as 10,000 to 15,000 fighters with ambitions well beyond the Middle East.
"Inshallah [God willing] we'll make some attacks in New York soon with Allah's permission," he said. "A lot of brothers are mobilizing there right now, in the West."
"What are they mobilizing for?" Smith asked.
"Mobilizing for a brilliant attack, my friend," he responded.
Shirdon outlined Islamic State's intentions to fly its flag over the White House, to turn infidels' children into slaves, and to "crucify Benjamin Netanyahu for his war crimes."
"That's maybe, maybe when we still stop," Shirdon said.
He also mocked CSIS employees as "imbeciles," claiming that workers with the Canadian intelligence body had interviewed him days before he left for the Middle East.
Childhood friend Nathaniel Little confirmed to The Calgary Sun that Shirdon indeed appeared in the video.
Still, he has trouble believing that someone who was a popular student at Henry Wisewood High School in Calgary's southwest area could end up as an extremist.
"We basically grew up together," Little said.
"I'd ask him what motivates him and if he has any remorse for what he's put his family through."
Shirdon, who is also a former student at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, first came to public attention in June, when he appeared in a video in which he burned his passport and issued threats against Canada and the United States, CBC News reported.
"After Sham, after Iraq, after Jazeera, we are going for you Barack Obama," he said in the video before tearing up his passport and placing it on a fire.