LONDON – The Islamic State jihadist combatant known popularly as “Jihadi John,” who had appeared in multiple execution videos released by the group while speaking in a British accent, has been identified by British police as Mohammed Emwazi, the BBC reported.
Emwazi is of British nationality and was previously known by the UK’s security services, according to the public broadcast station.
Dubbed by the country’s media as “Jihadi John,” the IS member was first seen in a video released online by the group last August, in which he appeared brutally murdering U.S. journalist James Foley.
British secret services did not want to disclose the identity of the jihadist before, citing operational reasons, the BBC said.
Since last August, British security agencies were working to identify the terrorist appearing in the IS’ videos with a strong British accent, particularly reminiscent of a London accent.
“Jihadi John” was also seen in other videos released by the IS, in which he beheaded multiple hostages, including U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haine, British driver Alan Henning and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
The British government has expressed its concern about the instances of young Muslims who travel to Syria to join the IS.
The most recent known case is that of three girls between 15 and 16 years, who last week traveled to Turkey and then entered Syria.
British police reported on Tuesday that the girls have crossed the Syrian border, presumably to join an extremist group.
A Scotland Yard spokesman said the anti-terrorist unit “now had reason to believe that they are no longer in Turkey and have crossed into Syria.”