Canadian Salman Ashrafi has been identified as the suicide bomber who participated in an attack in Iraq in November 2013. Some 40 people were killed in the attack. The attack included two vehicles, one of which exploded outside the Iraqi army base in Tarmiyah, and a second one that entered the compound and exploded inside, killing the victims. One of the cars was driven by Ashrafi, Canadian officials said this week.
Ashrafi, a resident of Calgary in western Canada, grew up in the city and studied at Canada's Lethbridge University. He graduated with a degree in engineering, and later worked for major energy companies, including Talisman Energy and Exxon. Ashrafi moved to Calgary with his family in the mid-1990s from Saudi Arabia, after his father accepted an academic position at a local university.
He apparently underwent a process of radicalization while in school, officials said. Ashrafi joined several campus groups and participated in anti-racism protests. He moved into an apartment with four other Muslim youths, and became friends with them, joining them for social events and praying in the same mosque with them.
One of the youths, a Canadian Christian named Damian Clairmont, who had converted to Islam, went to Syria and joined Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamic terror group, the Al-Nusra Front. He ws killed in a battle with the Free Syrian Army last year.
Following his friend's example, Ashrafi in late 2012, and now in his mid-20s. also went to Syria, but continued on to Iraq. There he joined another Islamist group, called The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, also affiliated with Al-Qaeda. The group was behind the November 2013 terror attack in which Ashrafi was killed.
In January 2013, two other Canadian youths were killed in Algeria, carrying out attacks for an Islamist group there.