The Justice Department revealed Saturday that the FBI has arrested an American woman who federal prosecutors say rose through the ranks of the Islamic State in Syria to become a battalion commander, train women and children used assault rifles and suicide belts, the Justice Department revealed Saturday.
Woman, Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42 years old, a former teacher from Kansas, was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization. The circumstances of her arrest in Syria were not immediately known, but the FBI took her to Virginia on Friday to face prosecution.
Prosecutors described Ms. Fluke-Ekren as playing an overly unusual role in Islamic State as both a woman and an American. Allegations against American women related to Islamic State are rare.
Investigators say Ms. Fluke-Ekren was smuggled into Syria in 2012 from Libya. According to one witness, she came to the country because she wanted to wage “violent jihad”. Raj Parekha federal prosecutor, wrote in a detention memo released on Saturday.
According to a criminal complaint filed in 2019, a witness told the FBI that Fluke-Ekren and her husband brought $15,000 to Syria to buy weapons. According to the witness, her husband eventually became the commander of all snipers in Syria in 2014. He later died in an air raid while carrying out a terrorist attack on behalf of him. Islamic State, investigators said. Ms. Fluke-Ekren met her husband in the United States, according to court documents.
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The same witness also told the FBI that Ms. Fluke-Ekren planned in 2014 to attack a college in the United States using a backpack filled with explosives. Prosecutors did not disclose which university she wanted to target. The criminal complaint says her plan was presented to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State at the time, who approved its funding. The witness said the attack was halted after Ms. Fluke-Ekren learned she was pregnant. Mrs. Fluke-Ekren has many children, but it is not clear how many.
Prosecutors say Fluke-Ekren moved to Egypt in 2008, lived there for about three years and then to Libya, where she stayed for about a year before sneaking into Syria. According to a witness, Ms. Fluke-Ekren left Libya for another terrorist organization, Ansar al-Shariawas no longer carrying out attacks in that country and she wanted to wage violent jihad.
In his memo arguing to keep Ms. Fluke-Ekren behind bars while she awaited trial, Mr. Parekh said she had been “a staunch follower of ISIS’ extremist terrorist ideology for many years.” . The prosecutor said the government had many witnesses prepared to testify against her.
According to the detention minutes, the mayor of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State, approved the creation of a military battalion to train women to help defend the city. Ms. Fluke-Ekren, investigators said, soon became its leader and organizer.
Witnesses say Ms. Fluke-Ekren taught classes to members of the battalion, and on one occasion a small child of hers was seen wielding an assault rifle. One witness said more than 100 women and girls had been trained by Ms. Fluke-Ekren. She had hoped to create an army of suicide bombers that could infiltrate enemy positions, but the attempt never materialized, according to the complaint.
Ms. Fluke-Ekren told another witness she wanted to attack a shopping mall using a remotely detonated vehicle filled with explosives. The witness said she wanted to kill a large number of people.
Court documents show that after her husband’s death, Fluke-Ekren married another Islamic State terrorist, a Bangladeshi man who used drones and was planning to drop bombs. chemistry from the air. He also died. She later married an Islamic State military leader who was responsible for protecting Raqqa, a witness said.
A witness also said Ms Fluke-Ekren claimed to have tried to send a text message to her family with the aim of tricking them into believing she was dead so the US government would stop trying to find her. She told the witness that she never wanted to return to the United States and wanted to die a martyr in Syria.
Federal prosecutors in Virginia have made active efforts to prosecute terrorists caught abroad. Cases can be extremely difficult because eyewitnesses and other evidence can often only be found in war zones, as well as due to geopolitical considerations.
Last year, Mohammed Khalifa, a Canadian of Saudi Arabian descent, went to Syria in 2013 and later joined the Islamic State, was brought to the United States and was charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization resulting in death. Khalifa provided narration and translations for about 15 videos created and distributed by Islamic State. He later pleaded guilty and face life in prison.
Two British men, El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Kotey, are part of the four British ISIS organization known as “The Beatles,” already brought to the United States in 2020 face fees. The group, nicknamed by the victims because of the tone of their members, kidnapped and abused more than two dozen hostages, including American journalists James Foley and Steven J. Sotloff, both of whom were held hostage. beheading in propaganda videos.
Mr. Kotey pleaded guilty his role in the deaths of 4 Americans in Syria. He has to face life in prison. Mr Elsheikh has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/29/us/politics/american-woman-islamic-state-fluke-ekren.html US woman charged with prominent role in Islamic State