Top Stories


    Mar 02, 2015

    Kuwait 'keeping eye on Jihadi John's relatives'


    THE Kuwaiti authorities are closely monitoring several relatives of "Jihadi John" who live and work in the Gulf emirate, where the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) executioner was born, press reports said yesterday.

    A number of relatives of Mohammed Emwazi - named as the militant who has beheaded at least five Western hostages - are working in Kuwait and, like him, hold British citizenship, Al-Qabas newspaper reported.

    "Security agencies have taken the necessary measures to monitor them round the clock," the paper said, citing an "informed source". The daily did not say how many of Mohammed's relatives are in Kuwait. The authorities have remained silent on the issue.

    Al-Rai newspaper cited security sources as saying that Mohammed's father, Jassem Abdulkareem, also a British national, is in Kuwait and is expected to be summoned by the authorities.

    Mohammed visited Kuwait several times, the last of them between Jan 18 and April 26, 2010, Al-Qabas said.

    He arrived from the United Arab Emirates using his British passport to obtain a Kuwaiti entry visa.

    A year later, he was denied entry to Kuwait after his name came up during investigations into attacks in Britain, the newspaper said.

    Mohammed's visits to Kuwait were largely of a social nature and he was briefly engaged to a stateless Kuwaiti resident, the paper added.

    The Gulf emirate has tens of thousands of stateless residents known as bidoons.

    Mohammed's family, who are of Iraqi origin, were among them.

    They applied for naturalisation, but their names were removed from the list of prospective citizens because of allegations that they collaborated with the Iraqi army during its seven-month occupation of Kuwait in 1990-1991, Al-Qabas said.

    Mohammed was born in Kuwait but moved to London in the early 1990s when he was a child, and attended school and university in the British capital.

    The Daily Telegraph reported that he went to school with two other boys who went on to become militants: Choukri Ellekhlifi, who was killed fighting in Syria, and Mohammed Sakr, killed fighting in Somalia.

    It was also reported that Mohammed Emwazi had contacts with the men responsible for failed attacks on London's public transport system in 2005, two weeks after suicide bombings killed 52 people in the British capital.

    It also emerged on Saturday that Mohammed had told a journalist four years ago that surveillance by British security services had left him contemplating suicide.

    He told The Mail on Sunday reporter that he felt like a "dead man walking".

    In an e-mail message to The Mail on Sunday reporter Robert Verkaik dated Dec 14, 2010, Mohammed described how he sold his laptop to someone he met online whom he subsequently came to believe was with the security services.

    "Sometimes I feel like I'm a dead man walking, not fearing they may kill me. Rather, fearing that one day, I'll take as many pills as I can that I can sleep forever!! I just want to get away from these people!!!" Mohammed wrote.

    The revelations add to the pressure on the security and intelligence agencies to explain why they did not act on their suspicions about Mohammed before he travelled to Syria.

    British civil rights group Cage, which was in contact with Mohammed, claims that domestic spy agency MI5 had been tracking him since at least 2009, and blamed his radicalisation on the agency's "harassment".

    Prime Minister David Cameron and a former head of foreign spy agency MI6 strongly rejected the idea, while London Mayor Boris Johnson accused Cage of an "apology for terror".