Munifer Karamaleski, originally from Macedonia, had lived in Italy for around seven years when he hastily left late last year.
The 25-year-old reportedly quit his job in Chies d’Alpago, close to Belluno in north-east Italy, and left along with his wife and three young children.
“He was doing well here, he had a great construction job, he had a salary, he had friends who he met at the village bar in the evening. He was integrated,” his father Musafer Karamaleski told Corriere della Sera.
Mayor Gianluca Dal Borgo told the newspaper that Munifer, who had himself taken off the civil registry in November, had “seemed like all the other guys” in Chies d’Alpago.
Munifer’s father, who has worked in construction in Italy for 22 years, said his son told him that he was going to look for a better job in Macedonia.
“When I returned to Macedonia, I didn’t find him at home. He told me by phone he was in Bosnia, I haven’t heard from him since,” Musafer said.
It is now believed that Munifer was recruited by jihadists from Isis (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), taking the same path as his friend Ismar Mesinovic who was killed fighting in Syria.
Earlier this month 16 people, including preacher Bilal Bosnic, were arrested in Bosnia after allegedly recruiting Isis militants from Italy.
Munifer’s sister Sebil spoke to him after he arrived in Syria, although has since lost touch with her brother, Corriere said. Her father however said he had no idea his son had joined Islamic militants.
“I didn’t know that my son had gone to Syria,” he said. “I didn’t teach him to kill. Islam doesn’t teach violence, the Quran speaks of peace and love. If he really has gone to fight, he’s made a serious mistake.”
Musafer denounced his son, saying he wanted nothing more to do with him. “He’s no longer my son…for me he no longer exists,” he said.
Munifer is one of around 50 people thought to have joined the Isis ranks from Italy. The majority are aged between 18 and 25 and were recruited in the north of the country.
Around ten have already been killed in fighting, Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said earlier this month.