EAST POINT, Ga. - An Arabic interpreter from East Point was among 19 people killed in Wednesday’s suicide bombing in Syria, a gruesome attack claimed by the Islamic State just weeks after President Donald Trump called for a withdrawal of U.S. troops and declared the terrorist group had been “largely defeated.”
Tri-Cities High School graduate Ghadir Taher, 27, who immigrated with her family to America from Syria, died from injuries she sustained in the blast, her younger brother, Ali, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday.
“Her smile lit up the room. She was kind. She was very easy to talk to,” Ali Taher said, his voice edged with emotion. “You could go on for hours, talking to her about your worries and about your troubles. And she would make them seem like they were hers.”
The family, he said, learned about her death from her employer, Valiant Integrated Services, a defense contractor.
“We are extremely saddened by the tragic and senseless passing of Ghadir Taher,” Valiant spokesman Tom Becker said in an email. “Out of respect to her family, we will make no further comment at this time other than to say she was a talented and highly-respected colleague, loved by many, who will be dearly missed.”
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The bomber targeted U.S. troops at a popular restaurant, the Palace of Princes, in the northern city of Manbij. Video footage of the blast shows a fireball enveloping the sidewalk in front of the crowded restaurant, knocking pedestrians off their feet.
On Friday, the U.S. Defense Department identified three other Americans killed in the attack: Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Fla.; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon Kent, 35, of upstate New York; and Scott Wirtz of St. Louis, Mo. Wirtz was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as an operations support specialist.
Trump discussed the fate of the Islamic State — also referred to as ISIS — and the U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria in a pair of Dec. 22 Twitter posts.
“On Syria, we were originally… going to be there for three months, and that was seven years ago - we never left,” he tweeted. “When I became President, ISIS was going wild. Now ISIS is largely defeated and other local countries, including Turkey, should be able to easily take care of whatever remains. We’re coming home!”
Ghadir Taher became a naturalized U.S. citizen after immigrating to America with Ali in 2001. Driven and independent-minded, she started working when she turned 17, at one point holding two jobs. She studied business at Georgia State University before going to work for Valiant, her brother said. In Syria, she cooked meals for U.S. troops, using local ingredients.
“Ghadir told me that the soldiers would go get ingredients from local shops and markets,” Ali Taher said. “Since Ghadir was the interpreter for the Army, she would communicate with the locals on behalf of the Army. The U.S. was there to protect the locals from ISIS and she told me that the locals were very welcoming.”
This story was written by Jeremy Redmon for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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