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Former U.S. soldier, Arizonan fighting alongside al-Qaida

A Phoenix native and United States soldier is now fighting alongside al-Qaida and other forces in the Middle East.

According to Fox News, Eric Harroun, 30, enlisted in the Army in 2000. After three years, he was discharged following a serious injury in a car accident.

Harroun, known in the region as The American, has fought alongside Syrian rebels and Jabhat al-Nusra, a group identified by U.S. officials as an alias for al-Qaida.

“I was separated in a battle and most of my group was K.I.A. and Al-Nusra picked me up,” Harroun told during one of several brief interviews conducted via Skype.

Harroun now identifies himself as an anti-Israel Sunni Muslim. He has appeared in several videos speaking out against Israelis and has posted anti-Semite statements on multiple forums.

The man’s father, Darryl Harroun, said the family views his son as an adventurer, but said his son suffers from depression and mood swings.

“He just loves that part of the world,” said Darryl Harroun, who said his family has been in the U.S. for several generations and is not Muslim. “We scratch our heads and wonder what the hell he’s doing. I told him, ‘You’re never going to change those people’s minds over there.’ But he says they treat him like a hero.

“I know one day I’m going to get a message from over there, telling me my son is dead,” he said.

Originally assigned to the Army’s 568th Engineer Company based at Fort Riley, Kan., Harroun worked for a Phoenix mortgage company after being discharged from the military.

Harroun said he is currently in Turkey but is planning another move soon, possibly to Israel.

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