Beheader Mohammed Emwazi aka "Jihadi John" Is Kuwaiti Born UK Muslim National From Wealthy Family
February 26, 2015
'Jihadi John' Finally Identified - Report
Masked, British-accented ISIS executioner reportedly named as son of a wealthy London family.
In the west, he has become synonymous with the gruesome campaign of terror waged by the Islamic State, or ISIS.
Until now known only as "Jihadi John" due to his clear British accent, the masked jihadist killer featured in recent videos showing the execution of western hostages, wielding a knife while coldly justifying the subsequent act of murder as "revenge" for airstrikes against the terrorist group.
But today, reports claim that Jihadi John has been positively identified as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born UK national who grew up in a "well to do" family in West London and graduated from a British university with a degree in computer programming.
According to the Washington Post, Emwazi traveled to Syria in 2012, where he later joined ISIS.
He first gained notoriety in August 2014, announcing - and then apparently carrying out - the beheading of American journalist James Foley.
Emwazi subsequently featured in the execution videos of US-Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig.
In each of the videos he appeared clad entirely in black, brandishing a knife and mocking western audiences as his victims kneeled in front of him.
He also appeared in a video showing Japanese captives Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, who were also later murdered by ISIS.
Mohammed Emwazi is in his mid-twenties, the report says, and cites former friends who described him as "polite" with "a penchant for wearing stylish clothes while adhering to the tenets of his Islamic faith. He had a beard and was mindful of making eye contact with women."
He first came to the attention of British intelligence agencies in 2009, when he was arrested along with two other suspects upon arriving in Tanzania and promptly deported.
Britain's domestic intelligence agency MI5 accused him of attempting to travel to Somalia to join the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab group - claims he denied in emails seen by the Post. But according to a former hostage Emwazi was "obsessed" with Somalia, and even forced his captives to watch Al Shabaab videos.
He was one of a trio of British ISIS terrorists who were responsible for western hostages at a prison in Idlib, Syria, and took part in the waterboarding of at least four captives, a former hostage said.
Following the revelations, British police have remained tight-lipped.
Commander Richard Walton, head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, told the BBC: "We have previously asked media outlets not to speculate about the details of our investigation on the basis that life is at risk.
"We are not going to confirm the identity of anyone at this stage or give an update on the progress of this live counter-terrorism investigation."
US officials refused to comment on the Washington Post's report, as did Emwazi's family.
MIM: Emwazi was on security radar for some time and was was helped by a radical Islamist "charity" organisation Cage.
"...Cage campaigns against "state policies developed as part of the War on Terror" and says Emwazi first contacted it in 2009 to complain about being interrogated by a British official at Schipol Airport after trying to visit Tanzania..."
Islamic State: Profile of Mohammed Emwazi aka 'Jihadi John'
"...His final address in the UK before he went abroad was in the Queen's Park area of north-west London. Emwazi came to the attention of the security services in 2009-2010 as MI5 and other agencies monitored suspected extremists that they had linked to investigations into foreign fighters joining al-Shabab in Somalia..."
Reports: 'Jihadi John' Relatives Under Surveillance in KuwaitKuwaiti authorities are monitoring family members of Mohammed Emwazi, believed to be ISIS executioner 'Jihadi John.'
Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate where the Islamic State executioner was born, press reports said Sunday.
A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi, named as the terrorist who has beheaded at least five Western hostages, are working in Kuwait and like him hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported.
"Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, citing an "informed source."
The daily did not say how many of Emwazi's relatives are in Kuwait. Authorities have remained silent on the issue.
Al-Rai newspaper cited security sources as saying that Emwazi's father, Jassem Abdulkareem, also a British national, is currently in Kuwait and is expected to be summoned by authorities.
Emwazi visited Kuwait several times, the last of them between January 18 and April 26, 2010, Al-Qabas said.
He arrived from the United Arab Emirates using his British passport to obtain a Kuwaiti entry visa.
A year later, he was denied entry to Kuwait after his name came up during investigations into attacks in Britain, the newspaper said.
Emwazi's visits to Kuwait were largely of a social nature and he was briefly engaged to a stateless Kuwaiti resident, the paper added.
The Gulf emirate has tens of thousands of stateless residents known as bidoons. Emwazi's family, who are of Iraqi origin, were among them.
They applied for naturalization but their names were removed from the list of prospective citizens because of allegations that they collaborated with the Iraqi army during its seven-month occupation of Kuwait in 1990-1991, Al-Qabas said.
Emwazi was born in Kuwait but moved to London in the early 1990s when he was a child and attended school and university in the British capital.
The Daily Telegraph reported that he went to school with two other boys who went on to become militants - Choukri Ellekhlifi, who was killed fighting in Syria, and Mohammed Sakr, killed fighting in Somalia.
It was also reported that Emwazi had contacts with the men responsible for failed attacks on London's public transport system in 2005, two weeks after suicide bombings killed 52 people in the British capital.
The revelations add to the pressure on the security and intelligence agencies to explain why they did not act on their suspicions about Emwazi before he travelled to Syria.
Report: 'Jihadi John' Contemplated Suicide in 2010London man believed to be ISIS executioner told a report he was contemplating suicide because of the surveillance on him.
The London man believed to be Islamic State (ISIS) executioner "Jihadi John" told a journalist in 2010 ago that surveillance by British security services had left him contemplating suicide, AFP reported Saturday.
Mohammed Emwazi, named by media and experts as the terrorist thought to have beheaded at least five Western hostages held by the IS group, told a Daily Mail reporter that he felt like a "dead man walking".
A British civil rights group that was in contact with Emwazi, Cage, claims that domestic spy agency MI5 had been tracking him since at least 2009, and blamed his radicalization on their "harassment".
Prime Minister David Cameron and a former head of foreign spy agency MI6 strongly rejected the idea, while London mayor Boris Johnson accused Cage of an "apology for terror".
In an email to reporter Robert Verkaik, dated December 14, 2010, Emwazi described how he sold his laptop to someone he met online who he subsequently came to believe was with the security services.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm a dead man walking, not fearing they may kill me. Rather, fearing that one day, I'll take as many pills as I can that I can sleep forever!! I just want to get away from these people!!!" Emwazi wrote, according to AFP.
Emwazi was born in Kuwait but moved to London when he was a child and attended school and university in the capital.
The Daily Telegraph reported this weekend that he went to high school with two other boys who went onto become militants -- Choukri Ellekhlifi, who was killed fighting in Syria, and Mohammed Sakr, killed fighting in Somalia.
A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said Saturday that it had launched a review into how Quintin Kynaston school in north London dealt with radicalization "to see if there are any lessons we can learn".
It was also reported that Emwazi had contacts with the men responsible for failed attacks on London's public transport system in 2005, two weeks after suicide bombings killed 52 people in the capital.
All the revelations add to pressure on the security and intelligence agencies to explain why they did not act on their suspicions about Emwazi before he travelled to Syria.
Cameron on Friday defended their actions, saying they have to make "incredibly difficult judgments, and I think basically they make very good judgments".
"Jihadi John", named after Beatle John Lennon due to his British background, is believed to be responsible for the murders of journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Allan Henning.