New ISIS executioner may be British national
THE English-speaking masked executioner featured in a video by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremist group, who has been widely dubbed the "new Jihadi John", could be a British man named Siddhartha Dhar, British media reported yesterday, citing sources.
Dhar, also known as Abu Rumaysah, was born a Hindu and ran a business renting out bouncy castles in north-east London before converting to Islam and becoming radicalised, the BBC said.
On Sunday, ISIS released the 10-minute video showing the killing of five "spies" who it said had worked with the international coalition fighting it in Iraq and Syria.
Before shooting one of the alleged spies in the head, the masked man in the video taunts British Prime Minister David Cameron and vows that ISIS will one day occupy Britain.
Mr Cameron has described the video as "desperate stuff" designed to deflect attention from ISIS' recent territorial losses.
The footage revived memories of "Jihadi John", a British ISIS member who appeared in several videos in which hostages were killed.
Dhar, 32, has issued a detailed defence of Mohammed Emwazi - the man identified to be "Jihadi John" - in previous postings and videos from Syria, saying the executioner was "justified in his position", the Independent daily reported.
He also said he could not "see an end" to the murder of hostages or captives.
In November, the United States military said it was "reasonably certain" that a drone strike in Syria had killed Emwazi.
Other British media quoted the mother and sister of Dhar as saying they were not certain whether the man in the video was him, Agence France-Presse reported.
The father-of-four, from Walthamstow in east London, had been arrested in late 2014 on suspicion of being a member of the banned Britain-based terrorist group al-Muhajiroun, but travelled to Syria with his family after being bailed.
Once in ISIS territory, he published a 46-page e-book comparing the "caliphate" declared by ISIS to a "plush holiday resort", reported the Independent.
The ISIS video also featured a four-year-old boy in military fatigues who has been identified by his grandfather in Britain as the son of his daughter Khadijah.
The English-speaking boy is shown saying: "So go kill the kuffar (infidel) right over there."
"It's my grandson. I can't disown him," Henry Dare, who moved to Britain from Nigeria in 1987, told the Channel 4 News broadcaster.
Khadijah converted to Islam when she was 18 and married an ISIS fighter from Sweden after moving to Syria in 2012, according to Mr Dare.
In November, British officials said that up to 800 Britons had travelled to Iraq and Syria, some to join ISIS.
About 50 per cent had returned home while about 70 were believed to have been killed.
British fighter jets joined the US-led coalition bombing ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq after parliament backed the move last month.