The identity of a masked ISIS terrorist who beheaded several hostages and is known to the world as “Jihadi John” has been revealed.
The Briton is Mohammed Emwazi, a 27-year-old man who grew up in a privileged family in West London and graduated college with a degree in computer programming. He was on the country’s terrorist watch list after he was arrested five years ago, reports the Washington Post.
Emwazi reportedly traveled to Syria in 2012 and it is believed he later joined the Islamic State.
The young man has served as the voice and masked face in several videotaped executions and pre-execution videos released by ISIS, among them those involving U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. He was also reportedly present in the video tapings of British aid worker David Cawthorne Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig. Last month, he appeared in a video with Japanese hostages Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto before they were killed.
After graduating college, he claimed he was being harassed by British security agents and even filed a complaint about it the Independent Police Complaints Commission, reports the Daily Mail.
In May 2009, he was reportedly arrested after traveling with a friend to Tanzania and was sent back to the United Kingdom. While detained in Amsterdam en route to London, police reportedly told him they suspected he was attempting to fly to Somalia, possibly to connect with militant group Al Shabaab.
One year later, Emwazi reportedly moved to his native Kuwait to work in IT and was detained by counterterrorism police in London when he flew back. He was then reportedly placed on a terrorist watch list and told not to leave Britain.
A senior British security officer has reportedly confirmed Emwazi’s identity, but both Scotland Yard and the prime minister’s office have yet to provide comment, reports the New York Times.