Monday 24 October 2016

Mohammed Emwazi was scared off Somalia before heading to Syria to become killer Jihadi John, claims friend

Tom Whitehead

Published 21/04/2015 | 14:09

Mohammed Emwazi - also known as Jihadi John
Mohammed Emwazi - also known as Jihadi John

Isil executioner Mohammed Emwazi ended plans to go to Somalia because he was scared he might be killed, a friend has claimed.

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Emwazi was worried after friends who had made it to the African country were killed and he instead later opted for Syria, where he went on to become the notorious killer Jihadi John.

The claims, from a former confidante, came as more links emerged between Londoner Emwazi and Samantha Lewthwaite, the wanted terror suspect dubbed the “white widow”.

Emwazi has become one of the world’s most wanted men after he was named earlier this year as the masked killer known as Jihadhi John who appeared in the beheading videos of several Western hostages, including two Britons.

In 2009 he tried to travel to Somalia to join the terror group with two friends but they was stopped in Tanzania and turned back.

He tried to leave the UK on at least three other occasion over the next four years before finally slipping out in August 2013 to head for Syria to join Islamic State.

But a man who knew him in Syria has now revealed the real reason why he gave up on Somalia.

The man, known only as Ayman, told the Independent: “He told me that if he had gone to Somalia he himself could well have been killed.

Mohammed Emwazi - also known as Jihadi John (Reuters)
Mohammed Emwazi - also known as Jihadi John (Reuters)
Mohammed Emwazi, brandishes a knife in this still image from a 2014 video (Reuters)
Undated video grab issued by Channel 4 news of Mohammed Emwazi the Islamic State fighter known as Jihadi John, as a teenage boy. Channel 4 News showed the teenager being picked for a lunch time kick-around. Photo: Channel 4 News/PA Wire

“Mohammed was obsessed with al-Shabaab, he was angry about what had happened in Africa: some of his friends have been killed, some sent to prison and he thought they had been betrayed.”

Known associates of Emwazi included Bilal al-Berjawi and Mohamed Sakr who had both been killed in drone strikes in Somalia.

The men were part of the so-called “London Boys” network of extremists from west London that had links to the failed July 21 London suicide bombers.

Emwazi also reportedly knew 7/7 bomber Jermaine Lindsey, whose widow Samantha Lewthwaite fled to Kenya and went on to become a wanted international terror suspect.

It has now been reported that Emwazi also knew Habib Ghani, who became Lewthwaite’s partner after she left the UK.

Ghani was killed in a village 200 miles from Mogadishu in 2013 in a suspected al-Shabaab feud.

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