A former Kansas teacher has been arrested and charged with federal crimes for allegedly organizing and leading the all-female ISIS battalion Khatiba Nusaybah. She is said to have plotted an attack on U.S. soil that was presented to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, pictured. Photo courtesy of Department of Defense
Jan. 29 (UPI) -- A former Kansas teacher has been arrested and charged with federal crimes for allegedly organizing and leading the all-female ISIS battalion Khatiba Nusaybah, the Justice Department announced Saturday.
Allison Elizabeth Fluke-Ekren, a 42-year-old American woman, was arrested in Syria and transferred into the custody of the FBI on Friday, according to a detention memo published by federal prosecutors Saturday. She is expected to appear in a Virginia federal court Monday.
Fluke-Ekren, who also goes by several aliases including Umm Mohammed al-Amriki, is accused of having been involved with terrorism-related activities on behalf of ISIS since at least 2014 - including plotting a potential attack on a college campus in the United States.
Prosecutors said Fluke-Ekren moved to Egypt in 2008 and lived there until 2011, when she moved to Libya for a year. She was then smuggled into Syria in 2012 because she wished to engage in "violent jihad," witnesses told investigators.
Photos published to her family blog 4 Kansas Kids appear to show her with her multiple children in Egypt in 2009 during a "nice cruise on the Nile." It is not immediately clear how many children she has or their status after her arrest.
"Leyla and Gabe preferred to stay home and battle to the death with their toy weapon arsenal, so Volkan stayed with them. It was a lovely afternoon," Fluke-Ekren wrote in the blog post.
In a 2019 criminal complaint that was unsealed Saturday, the FBI revealed that it spoke with six witnesses during its investigation into Fluke-Ekren. One witness told the FBI that Fluke-Ekren kept an arsenal of weapons in her house in Syria and was responsible for providing weapons to ISIS and training more than 100 women in how to shoot AK-47s and use explosive suicide belts, starting in 2014.
She and her dead husband brought $15,000 to Syria which were used to purchase the AK-47s, as well as grenades, handguns and other weapons, the witness told the FBI. One witness said that they saw Fluke-Ekren's young children, who were about five years old, holding a machine gun in her home in Syria.
The first witness also said that Fluke-Ekren plotted an attack that had been presented to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The plan involved members of ISIS who would "dress like infidels" dropping off a backpack full of explosives at a college after entering the United States from Mexico.
The plan was apparently put on hold when Fluke-Ekren found out she was pregnant, the witness told the FBI.
Another witness told the FBI that Fluke-Ekren had also plotted an attack on a shopping mall in the United States, in which terrorists would park a vehicle filled with explosives in its parking garage and detonate them with a cell phone trigger device.
The witness said that ISIS did not pursue that attack because her husband objected to the plan. Witnesses said that her husband was a sniper trainer for ISIS who died in 2016 during an airstrike while attempting to conduct a terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS in Syria, and that she later married another Bangladeshi ISIS member who specialized in drones.
Fluke-Ekren's second husband was plotting two major attacks involving dropping chemical bombs from drones before he too died around the end of 2016. She later remarried yet another prominent ISIS leader, who has been responsible for ISIS' defense of Raqqa.