IS militant ‘Jihadi John’ named

Written By komlim puldel on Kamis, 26 Februari 2015 | 20.01

Peter Stefanovic interviews an alleged IS member known as 'Jihadi John' in the UK back in 2011. Courtesy: Channel Nine News

'Jihadi John' has been named as Mohammed Emwazi. Source: Supplied

"JIHADI John", the masked Islamic State militant apparently responsible for the beheading of western hostages, has been named as London man Mohammed Emwazi by the Washington Post and the BBC.

Britain's Metropolitan Police would not confirm Thursday's reports, which identified the suspect as Kuwaiti-born Emwazi, who grew up in west London.

"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," said Richard Walton from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.

Contacted by AFP, the interior ministry could not immediately comment on the reports.

The Guardian and the BBC both reported the identity, without citing their sources.

British media had previously suggested "Jihadi John" could be a different British jihadist.

"Jihadi John", the masked Islamic State militant apparently responsible for the beheading of western hostages including journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, was on February 26, 2015 named as London man Mohammed Emwazi by the Washington Post and the BBC. Source: AFP

Emwazi, in his mid-20s, was identified to the Washington Post by friends and others familiar with the case, with one close acquaintance telling the paper: "I have no doubt that Mohammed is Jihadi John".

The suspect is from a middle class family and earned a degree in computer programming before travelling to Syria around 2012, according to the report.

He apparently became radicalised after being detained by authorities following a flight to Tanzania and being accused by British intelligence officers of trying to make his way to Somalia.

"Jihadi John", named after Beatle John Lennon due to his British accent, is believed to be responsible for the murders of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Allan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.

He also appeared in a video with the Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, shortly before they were killed.

Jihadi John stands beside a hostage. Source: Supplied

In the videos posted online, he appears dressed all in black with only his eyes exposed, and wields a knife while launching tirades against the West.

Following the appearance of the report online, UK-based terror expert Shiraz Maher tweeted "Well, that's it. The name is out. Jihadi John has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi."

British intelligence officers estimate that there are around 500 homegrown militants fighting for IS in Syria and Iraq.

The BBC reports he is believed to be Mohammed Emwazi, from West London, who was previously known to British security services.

London's Metropolitan Police declined to confirm the reported identity, CNN said.

The Washington Post has also identifed the killer as Emwazi. "I have no doubt that Mohammed is Jihadi John," said one of Emwazi's close friends who identified him in an interview with The Washington Post. "He was like a brother to me. . . . I am sure it is him."

The Post described Emwazi as being from a "well-to-do" family in London, who graduated college with a computer programming degree.

Emwazi first appeared in a video last August, when he allegedly killed American journalist James Foley. In the videos, Emwazi speaks English with a British accent.

He holds a long knife and appears to begin cutting the victims.

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.

Only last month, he turned up in a video with Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, just before they were executed.

Reuters reports Emwazi is believed to be an associate of an ex-UK control order suspect, who travelled to Somalia in 2006 and is allegedly linked to a "facilitation and funding network for Somali militant group al-Shabab".

Last year, IS created a "caliphate"across Syria and Iraq.


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