When ISIS issued a chilling online call to arms for its Western brothers in June, a twisted “All-American” kid from Tennessee was quick to answer – slaughtering four innocent Marines and wounding three others at two Chattanooga military facilities.
Before cops shot him dead, 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez was a well-liked college grad living a seemingly idyllic life in the suburbs.
But The National ENQUIRER can reveal he spent months visiting terrorist hotbeds in Yemen and Jordan, and radicalizing himself for his murderous mission on July 16.
ISIS marked the one-year anniversary of its self-proclaimed existence as an Islamic state on June 29, during the of the holy month of Ramadan, declaring Allah would reward acts of violence “10 TIMES as much as the rest of the year.”
“Abdulazeez was the perfect target for their sick propaganda,” a Pentagon source exclusively told The ENQUIRER.
Born in Kuwait in 1990, he became a U.S. citizen in 1996. His high school wrestling coach, Kevin Emily, revealed Abdulazeez sometimes skipped practice for prayer, but did not see his increasing radicalization. “There were no red flags,” he said. “We had a tight bond.”
Pals said he liked beer, played football and even became a mixed martial arts fighter.
“He had friends,” said classmate Kagan Wagner. “He always fit in.”
But scratching beneath the surface revealed a starkly different portrait.
Authorities investigated his father, Youssef, several years earlier for “possible ties to a foreign terrorist organization.” At one point, Yousuff was on a terrorist watch list, and was questioned while traveling. At another point, his mother filed divorce papers alleging Youssef beat her and their children.
Chillingly forecasting his future, Abdulazeez wrote in his school yearbook: “My name causes national security alerts. What does yours do?”
His behavior grew more erratic in recent months. He’s seen smirking in a mug shot after an April DUI bust. Cops said he had “white residue” on his nose, and his car “reeked of pot.” Last year he made several trips to the terrorist training sanctuary in Yemen and visited Jordan five times!
When he returned, he started a blog laced with such extremist writings as: “Brothers and sisters, don’t be fooled by your desires, this life is short and bitter and the opportunity to submit to Allah may pass you by.”
On July 16, he drove a silver Mustang up to a Marine recruiting center and unleashed a barrage of gunfire, then led police on a high-speed chase seven miles to a U.S. Navy operational support center for a second bloody assault.
Abdulazeez’s attack was the seventh on U.S. soil during the Obama administration, leaving 24 dead. Thirteen people were killed at Fort Hood, Texas in 2009, while three people, including an 8-year-old boy, perished in the Boston Marathon bombing.
Meanwhile, a shaken President Barack Obama ordered the Defense Department to bolster security at all of its facilities.