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The ISIS ‘Senior Commander' Who Grew Up on the Jersey Shore

His mother said she last talked to him about a year ago

He graduated from Atlantic City High School in 2010. His Albanian immigrant family owned a pizza shop in Margate, New Jersey. He attended a mosque where "he hated people," according his mother.

Then Zulfi Hoxha went to Syria and became Abu Hamza al-Amriki, an ISIS soldier, according to his mother and court documents in another recent terrorism case involving an American.

"I am upset," his mother Ltefaji Hoxha told NBC10 at her house in Margate in the first confirmation outside of court filings that the 25-year-old is in Syria fighting for the group also known as the Islamic State. "No good. I'm very upset."

Zulfi Hoxha Mom
Ltefaji Hoxha, whose son Zulfi has been identified as an ISIS senior commander in Syria, outside her Margate, New Jersey, home.

Hoxha, 25, was identified in filings for the federal case against David "Daoud" Wright, who was convicted last year on terrorism charges and is serving 28 years in prison. The Atlantic first identified Hoxha as Abu Hamza al-Amriki.

A terrorist by that nom de guerre made waves in May 2017 when he appeared in an ISIS propaganda video. In that video, he calls on "lone wolf" terrorists to carry out attacks on targets in the United States.

"Liberate yourself from hellfire by killing a kafir," Abu Hamza al-Amriki said in the video, which showed him in battlefield fatigues and kneeling in front of rocket launchers.

His mother said she last talked to him about a year ago. Hoxha, according to the court documents in the Wright case, joined ISIS in Syria in April 2015. He quickly became a senior commander, the documents said. It is unclear why he was promoted to a commander.

Ltefaji Hoxha said that a year ago he was talking to her, “saying ‘Zulfi is good’ and now he stopped it.” He doesn’t call or talk to her anymore, she said.

Eventually, her daughter called for her mother to shut the door.

A spokeswoman for the FBI would not talk about any potential investigations involving Zulfi Hoxha.

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