“Jihadi John,” the masked man from ISIS known for beheading a number of western civilians, has been identified as Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi, The Washington Post first revealed.
Emwazi’s role as expert executioner began following a series of incidents starting from his visit to Tanzania in May 2009, according to Asim Qureshi, research director of London-based lobby group Cage.
Qureshi added that on landing in Dar es Salaam, Emwazi was detained by the police before being held overnight. He was later accused by the MI5 of traveling to Somalia, where terror group al-Shabab resides. Emwazi denied such accusation and later on claimed the agents attempted to recruit him before allowing him to return to the UK, where he met with Qureshi to discuss the incident.
The research director told The Washington Post that Emwazi was “extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew.”
Emwazi supposedly killed US journalist James Foley, as shown in a video footage last August. Since then, more videos were released to show “Jihadi John” beheading US journalist Steven Sotloff, aid workers Abdul-Rahman and David Haines, and taxi driver Alan Henning.
Videos showed the executioner wearing a black robe and balaclava, only showing the eyes and the top of the nose. Emwazi spoke with a British accent, jeering at western powers before holding a knife towards the neck of hostages. The filming stopped, and the decapitated bodies of the victims were shown later.
The black-masked executioner, who beheaded Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, also appeared in a video earlier this month. Released hostages divulged that Emwazi was only one of three British militants guarding western hostages. They earned the collective name, “the Beatles.”
The FBI, MI5 and other intelligence agencies had used voice recognition software, interviewed former hostages and applied on-the-ground research methods in London to build the profile of “Jihadi John,” now revealed to be Mohammed Emwazi.
The process of recruiting jihadist sympathizers to work with intelligent agencies is likely to continue.
Both the U.S. and Britain apparently have informers within the Islamic State capital of Raqqa. However, BBC News observes that such strategy has not earned enough results when it comes to stopping Emwazi, “or bringing him to justice.”