'Jihadi John' identified as middle-class Londoner
THE "Jihadi John" killer who has featured in several Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) beheading videos was yesterday identified as London resident Mohammed Emwazi by the Washington Post and BBC.
The International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at London's King's College, a leading resource for studying foreign extremists, said it believed the identity "to be accurate and correct".
Britain's Metropolitan Police would not confirm the report, which identified the suspect as Kuwaiti-born Mohammed, who grew up in west London.
"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," said Richard Walton from the Met's Counter Terrorism Command.
Contacted by AFP, the Interior Ministry could not immediately comment on the reports.
The Guardian and BBC both reported the identity, without citing their sources.
The British media had previously suggested "Jihadi John" could be a different British extremist, former rapper Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who was said to have left his family home in the affluent west London suburb of Maida Vale in 2013 to fight in the civil war in Syria.
Mohammed, in his mid-20s, was identified to the Washington Post by friends and others familiar with the case, with one close acquaintance telling the paper: "I have no doubt that Mohammed is Jihadi John."
The suspect, who is from a middle-class family and has a degree in computer programming, travelled to Syria around 2012, according to the report.
He apparently became radicalised after being detained by the authorities following a flight to Tanzania and being accused by British intelligence officers of trying to make his way to Somalia, where they believed he had links to a man with connections to the extremist militant group Al-Shabab.
The suspect was also angered after being barred from flying from London to Kuwait, according to e-mail sent by him to British rights group Cage.
"Jihadi John" is believed to be responsible for the murders of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, British aid workers David Haines and Allan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
He also appeared in a video with the Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto shortly before they were killed.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS