ISIS Eulogizes Jihadi John, Says Joined al-Nusra Before ISIS

The new issue of Dabiq Magazine (#13) released today contains tributes to several fallen ISIS members, including "Jihadi John." I'm not linking to Dabiq so here's a link to a news article about it. But I am interested in some details as to his background the eulogy clears up so I will quote it.

First, the article refers to him as "Abū Muhārib al-Muhājir" rather than Mohammed Emwazi. In the bio portion, it says his early life was spent in the "northeast of the Arabian Peninsula" but he moved to London with his family at a young age. His mother was originally from Yemen. [More....]

Abū Muhārib al-Muhājir, the mujāhid who made headlines around the world as “Jihadi John,” was originally from the northeast of the Arabian Peninsula, while his mother originated from Yemen. At a young age, the honorable brother traveled with his family to London. This would become a place he grew to hate along with its kāfir people, whose customs were far-removed from the praiseworthy values he was much accustomed to.

I've asked aloud here several times whether Jihadi John first joined al-Nusra in Syria before switching to ISIS. The tribute confirms that he did.

Here are the questions I posed back then:

  • Where did Emwazi get his first militant training after reaching Syria (or Iraq, if he went there first?)
  • Syria? Did he switch from al Nusra to ISIS, and if so, when? Was he trained by a Chechen group which had a lot of immigrant fighters from Europe?
  • Why do some media reports say he was known as Abu Abdullah al-Britani, while others say he was was known as Abu Muharib al-Yemeni? (I think it's Abu Marib al Yemeni since he looks nothing like Abu Abdullah al Britani who was a member of Rayat al Tawheed and is now dead.)
  • What training videos does he appear in?
  • Is it true he rapidly advanced up the ranks in ISIS? If so, who was his "rabbi" that backed his rise? Was it Omar al-Shishani or Amr al-Ibsi?
  • Is he an Emir? Where? Did he replace someone or was he made the emir of a new Wilayat? Is he on the Shura council?
  • Who are the other "Beatles", particularly George, who the hostages say was the leader? One reporter is now saying he is Emwazi's friend from London. Who were the Dutch fighters that guarded the western hostages in Aleppo?

In another post on his background, I mentioned reports that he first joined al Nusra .

I've seen reports that he first went to Iraq and joined up there, before going to Syria. Most reports say he went to Turkey and then to Syria. I've seen reports he went by the name Abu Adullah al Britani, and others saying that is false and he was known as Abu Muharib al-Yemeni. There are reports he first joined Jabhat al Nusra, and then switched to ISIS.

There was also confusion about whether he went to Syria in 2012 or 2013. While the tribute says he first joined al Nusrah in Syria in 2012, other sources claimed he went to Syria in 2013. Why does the tribute put quotation marks around "2012"? Not cleared up at all.

The tribute differs from CAGE in that it says he became radicalized in 2005 around the time of the London transit attacks -- well before he attempted to travel to Kuwait. His pals back them included Bilāl al-Barjāwī and Muhammad Saqr, who were each killed in separate drone strikes in Somalia,

On his trip to Syria:

... Abū Muhārib with his companion embarked on a long and strenuous journey that totaled approximately two months and involved trekking the mountain ranges of Europe and its marshy farmlands, sneaking across borders, and being detained by the authorities of various nations on at least two occasions.

On joining al Nusra before its split with the Islamic State.

Allah granted them safe deliverance into Shām in the latter part of “2012.” Upon arrival, Abū Muhārib wasted no time and immediately placed his hand with the Jamā’ah, joining the Islamic State while it was operating under the name “Jabhat an-Nusrah,” prior to al-Jawlānī’s treachery.

It portrays him as almost prescient.

He was not deceived by the presence of hundreds of groups, or their numerous flags bearing their hypocritical logos and names. It would be through this very manner of foresight and decisiveness that Allah would grant Abū Muhārib steadfastness throughout the many trials which the Islamic State would encounter, including al-Jawlānī’s betrayal and nullification of his bay’ah to Amīrul-Mu’minīn Abu Bakr al-Baghdādī (hafidhahullāh).

It says he was one of the first to denounce al-Jolani:

Abū Muhārib was among the very first to
declare his disavowal of al-Jawlānī and would say regarding him, “He’s just going to be another Shaykh Sharīf,” referring to former head of the Islamic Courts Union of Somalia – Sharif Sheikh Ahmed – who committed blatant apostasy by entering into the parliaments of shirk and supporting the United States and African crusader nations in the war against Islam and the Muslims.

The article also mentions some other places in Syria he committed crimes.

He participated in the conquest of the Taftanāz airbase near Idlib and the 17th Division base near ar-Raqqah. He also partook in the operation in Salqīn near Idlib – where Abū
Mu’āwiyah al-Misrī3 was martyred – as well as in many other battlefronts.

Early on, he got shot in the back in "a battle to retake Huraytān:

He also participated in the fighting against
the sahwāt of Shām and was injured within the first week of the Sahwah, sustaining a gunshot wound to his back during the battle to retake Huraytān.

In a teaser of a footnote, the article says "Perhaps we release the story of his long hijrah in a future issue."

The article confirms how he died -- in a U.S. drone strike in Raqqa:

On Thursday, the 29th of Muharram, 1437, Abū Muhārib finally achieved shahādah for the cause of Allah, which he had sought for so long, as the car he was in was targeted in a strike by an unmanned drone in the city of ar-Raqqah, destroying the car and killing him instantly.

While some of my questions are cleared up, others remain. We still don't know who was killed in the car with him in the drone strike. Or which training camp he attended.

My best guess is he joined up with Amr al-Ibsi and with Chechen Omar al Shishani, when Shishani broke with Nusra and brought his immigrant fighter battallion to al Baghdadi and ISIS. It may be that it was al Ibsi, who was in charge of prisons, who made him a prison guard.

What was the highest rank he achieved? Was he ever an "emir"? Hopefully someone else will have the answers to my remaining questions. (I really don't like loose ends.)

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  • Display: Sort:
    2012 (none / 0) (#1)
    by pitachips on Wed Jan 20, 2016 at 07:22:20 AM EST
    Many Muslims use 622 a.d. as the beginning point for their calendar.

    comment with name-calling deleted (none / 0) (#2)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jan 21, 2016 at 12:00:52 PM EST
    the commenter knows better. Name calling, even of jihadi john, is not allowed. Words matter.