The jihadist executioner of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff has been identified, nearly six months after the two were brutally beheaded in Syria. Mohammad Emwazi, aka ‘Jihadi John’, is pictured in a new photo as a seemingly sweet schoolboy in London.
Jihadi John has been unmasked. The ruthless ISIS killer has been named as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born man in his mid-to-late 20s who was raised in London, according to BBC News and the Daily Mail. Mohammed, who appeared in videos of the beheadings of American hostages like James Foley and Steven Sotloff, was on a terror watch list in Britain but he escaped to Syria in 2012.
Jihadi John Identified: ISIS Killer Revealed As Former Sweet Schoolboy
Mohammed is also believed to be behind the murders of British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, who were all beheaded in videos released by Islamic State.
British police are still investigating and declined to comment, according to BBC News.
Mohammed moved to Britain with his family when he was six years old, and he attended St. Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school in Maida Vale, West London, the UK’s Daily Mail reports.
He “appeared to embrace British life, playing football in the affluent streets of West London while supporting Manchester United,” according to the site. “Neighbors recalled a polite, quietly spoken boy who was studious at his Church of England school, where he was the only Muslim pupil in his class.”
One fellow student recalls to the Daily Mail:
One time we had an RE lesson and he got up and talked about his religion. He wrote Arabic on the board to show us what it looked like and how it went in the other direction.He showed us a religious text and spoke about what his religion was about. That was when we were eight or nine. He mentioned fasting. His English wasn’t very good throughout primary school. He could only say a few words at first — like his name and where he was from. He played football every lunchtime and at the after-school football club. Through football, he learned different words and expressions. Like all the guys, he always wanted to be the striker. He wasn’t so good in school, he was the bottom half of the class, but he was one of the sporty guys. He was popular.
Jihadi John Identified: A Timeline Of His Life
Asim Qureshi, the research director of the British advocacy group Cage, which maintained contact with Mohammed over the course of several years, said in a news conference that Mohammed was “extremely kind, gentle and soft-spoken, the most humble young person I knew.”
Asim said Mohammed’s life took a wrong turn when he was approached by the British intelligence agency MI5 during a trip to Tanzania in 2009. This timeline published by BBC News and sourced by Cage documents what is known about Mohammed to date:
1988: Born in Kuwait, moves to UK in 1994
2009: Completes computing degree at University of Westminster
Aug 2009: Travels to Tanzania with two friends for safari but refused entry at Dar es Salaam. Put on flight to Amsterdam. After questioning there, returns to Dover
Sept 2009: Travels to Kuwait to stay with father’s family
July 2010: Returns to UK for short stay but told he cannot return to Kuwait as visa denied
2012: Passes Celta English language teaching course
2013: Changes name by deed poll. Tries to travel to Kuwait but is stopped. Disappears. Parents report him missing. Police tell family four months later he has entered Syria
— Tierney McAfee