Islamic State's executioner 'Jihadi John' identified as Londoner

By Andrew V. Pestano

LONDON, Feb. 26 (UPI) -- The Islamic State militant referred to as "Jihadi John" who has appeared in several propaganda videos, some featuring beheadings, is believed to be a man from London.

"Jihadi John" has been identified as Mohammed Emwazi, according to The Washington Post and BBC News.


He is believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 where he later joined the Islamic State -- possibly after a failed attempt to become an English teacher in Saudi Arabia.

Emwazi, in his mid-20s, was born in Kuwait but lived in West London. He first appeared in propaganda videos when he allegedly killed James Foley, an American journalist, in August. He dresses in all black in the videos, with a balaclava covering his face but leaving his eyes exposed.

He also appeared in the videos of Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, before their executions. He was described as quiet, intelligent and "most deliberate" by former Islamic State hostages.

Emwazi studied computer programming at the University of Westminster and is described as coming from an affluent family. He was a "person of interest" to MI5, British intelligence, since 2011.


U.S. officials, Emwazi's family and The Metropolitan Police declined to comment on the reports

"We have previously asked media outlets not to speculate about the details of our investigation on the basis that life is at risk," Commander Richard Walton, head of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command, said. "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."

The Washington Post interviewed a representative of a British human rights group who knew Emwazi, people familiar with the case and several friends who all believe the masked IS member could be Emwazi.

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

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