February 13, 2014
An amateur boxer has become the tenth known Briton to have died fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria. On Thursday police were searching the house where Anil Khalil Raoufi, 20, a mechanical engineering student, lived with his family in a suburb of Manchester. Police said they were assessing how Britons were being drawn into travelling to Syria and “how to prevent others doing the same”.
Neighbours of the family, who were not at the property yesterday, spoke of their shock as police carried on searches at the family’s detached home on a quiet, tree-lined street in Didsbury.
Raoufi’s father runs two restaurants on Manchester’s “Curry Mile” and his mother, Kamala, is a housewife. They are believed to have come to the UK from Afghanistan around 10 years ago. Their eldest son is a pharmacist and they also have a daughter and a young son, aged around nine.
He also railed against news articles calling ISIS extremists, and in one posting expressed pride that two boys “not older than 14” had joined him at a training camp. “We’re not like barbaric Victorians who sent their children up their fireplaces to die sweeping chimneys for a few shillings. Islam breeds heroes,” he said.
A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was aware of reports of Raoufi’s death but could not confirm them.