UNITED KINGDOM –
KUWAITI-born British man, Mohammed Emwazi, is the masked Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John”, who has been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of Western hostages, it has been revealed.
Emwazi, who is in his mid-20s from west London, was previously known to British security services.
He first appeared in a video last August, when he apparently killed the US journalist James Foley.
He was later thought to have been pictured in the videos of the beheadings of US journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter.
Always dressed in a black dressed in a black robe with a black balaclava covering all but his eyes and top of his nose, the militant spoke with a British accent in all the videos.
He taunted Western powers before holding his knife to the hostages’ necks, appearing to start cutting before the film stopped. The victims’ decapitated bodies were then shown
The research director of London-based lobby group Cage, which had been in contact with Emwazi over a number of years, Asim Qureshi, said Emwazi’s difficulties began when he travelled to Tanzania in May 2009 following his graduation in computer programming at the University of Westminster.
According to Qureshi, Emwazi and two friends had planned to go on a safari but once they landed in Dar es Salaam they were detained by police and held overnight.
Emwazi then ended up flying to Amsterdam, in the Netherlands, where he claimed to be met by British intelligence agents from MI5 who accused him of trying to travel to Somalia, where the jihadist group al-Shabab operates. He denied the accusation and said the agents had tried to recruit him before allowing him to return to the UK.
Emwazi has been previously described as a member of a network involving at least 13 men from London – and at least two of them were subjected to house arrest control orders or T-Pims. One absconded. Another was killed in a drone strike. The chances of Emwazi ever returning to the UK are small.