Valdet Gashi the Thai Kickboxing world champion. Photo: Islamic State social media.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Former Thai kickboxing world champion turned ISIS recruiter Valdet Gashi has reportedly been killed among ISIS militants in Syria, Gashi’s immediate family said Tuesday.
A German of Albanian ancestry, Gashi was a two-time champion in world mixed martial arts and was from the German state of Bavaria. He became a jihadist and joined ISIS in Syria in July 2014.
Swiss TV channel SRF cited Gashi’s brother, who said his brother was killed last Saturday under vague circumstances in Syria.
According to the source, the 29-year-old Gashi was married with two children. He previously in a phone interview with Swiss media announced that he joined jihadists in Syria to “help and seek answers.”
In the interview Gashi said he was working for ISIS by patrolling the Euphrates River near the Turkish border and looking for smugglers bringing in illegal goods like cigarettes, alcohol or drugs.
Gashi travelled to Syria with three other Thai kickboxers. One of them was known to be a Kurdish Muslim named Hajan who was killed in a battle with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Rojava Kurdish region of Syria.
The four friends reportedly carried out many brutal punishments while serving in the jihadist ranks.
In May, the UN reported that some 20,000-22,000 foreign fighters had joined ISIS in Syria and Iraq.