Clay Dubberly, ‘Doah Staff Writer
March 4, 2015
The identity of the Islamic extremist responsible for the beheadings of U.S., British and other hostages has been revealed this week by British intelligence.
“Jihadi John,” who is seen in several beheading videos carried out by the Islamic State (IS), is from London and studied at the University of Westminster, graduating with a degree in computer sciences.
Mohamed Emwazi, 26, was involved in the killings of American journalist James Foley, American- Israeli journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning and U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, known also as Peter.
He traveled to Syria in 2012 and later joined the Islamic State, and how he radicalized from a computer science student to a savage spokesperson is still unknown.
One of Emwazi’s friends said he had “no doubt” that “Mohammed is Jihadi John.”
“He was like a brother to me… I am sure it is him. There was an extremely strong resemblance. This is making me feel fairly certain that this is the same person,” he added.
His heavy British accent can be heard in many videos of beheadings, and it seems that there has been a lot of work done to cover his tracks online.
He arrived in London as a young boy of six and was described as a polite, well-mannered child. He had a knack for wearing popular clothing but remained a staunch Muslim. He was careful not to make eye contact with women.
As early as September of last year, the FBI and MI5 identified Emwazi as Jihadi John. However, nothing was done because of the possibility that IS might have had hostages.
British intelligence agencies may have tried to recruit Emwazi as an informant, but because the investigation is ongoing were unable to comment.
The intelligence agency wrote: “Agents are one of MI5’s most important sources of intelligence. MI5 often approaches subjects of interest (SOI’s) in order to try to recruit them as agents.”
In 2009, he flew to Tanzania but was detained by police upon landing and held overnight. He then flew to the Netherlands and claimed he was accused of wanting to fight in Somalia with the terrorist group al-Shabaab by an MI5 agent named “Nick.”
In emails, Emwazi said the agent knew “everything about me: Where I lived, what I did, and the people I hang around with.” He then claimed the agent tried to recruit him as an informant, saying, “Why don’t you work for us?” When Emwazi refused, the MI5 agent said, “Life would be harder for you.”
Emwazi moved back to Kuwait and began working for a computer company. In June 2010, he was detained again by counter-terrorism officials and was prevented from flying back to Kuwait.
Close friends of Emwazi say that he intended to leave the country, although it is not certain how he made it to Syria or when exactly.
By 2012, Emwazi was telling his friends of his desire to travel to Syria. Almost all of them advised against it.
One of his friends said, “He was upset and wanted to start a life elsewhere. He at some stage reached the point where he was really just trying to find another way to get out.”