Jewish American Survivor Of 9/11 Killed In Terrorist Attack Over American Embassy’s Move To Jerusalem

(LUIS TATO/AFP/Getty Images)

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter
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A Jewish American who survived 9/11 died Tuesday when terrorists attacked a hotel and office in Nairobi, Kenya, over America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

The U.S. State Department has not yet released the identity of the American who died in the attack. However, Jason Spindler’s family and college roommate Kevin Yu confirmed that he was killed by the al-Shabab militants. Yu characterized Spindler as a man of courage who, upon witnessing the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, ran into the rubble to save survivors. (RELATED: Kenya Marks 20 Years Since Al-Qaeda Slaughtered Hundreds In US Embassy Bombings)

“That’s exactly the kind of person he is,” Yu told The Washington Post. “When we hear explosions of gunfire, a lot of people immediately jump away. His instinct is quite the opposite — he jumps straight at it.”

Yu said Spindler’s experience on Sept. 11, 2001 changed his perspective and, ultimately, the course of his life. Spindler originally hailed from Houston, had traveled the world, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Peru, and started a career in investment banking. He chose to leave all of that and pursue a law degree at New York University, after which he traveled overseas and pursued social entrepreneurship.

“Something struck a nerve and changed how he felt and thought about things,” Yu said. “He just felt like he could be doing so much more.”

He became CEO of investment firm I-Dev International, but his life was cut short when Islamic terrorists burst into the room where he was having a meeting Tuesday. The attack killed at least 21 people.

Al-Shabab said in a statement that it carried out the attack in retaliation for U.S. President Donald Trump’s choice to move the American embassy to Jerusalem.

“It is a response to the witless remarks of the US president, Donald Trump, and his declaration of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital of Israel,” the statement reads, according to AFP.

Jonathan Spindler announced his brother’s death on Facebook, saying he believed that Jason Spindler likely put up a fight.

“It is with a heavy heart that I have to report that my brother Jason Spindler passed away this morning during a terror attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Jason was a survivor of 9-11 and a fighter. I am sure he gave them hell!” he wrote, according to Reuters.

Yu echoed those sentiments in light of the bravery he demonstrated on 9/11 and the adventurous passion with which Jason Spindler led his life.

“I have no doubt that when he heard the explosions outside the hotel, he was one of those trying to jump in and help,” he said. “It would be unlike him if we heard that he sat on the benches and hid in the bathroom.”

Jason Spindler’s family is traveling to Kenya where they will retrieve his body. They will hold a religious service for him on Monday, which would have been his 41st birthday.

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