ISIS defector describes 'Jihadi John' as feared and influential figure within group

Part of Emwazi's appeal was his willingness, even enthusiasm in killing foreigners, decapitating them with a knife which he characteristically featured in various videos in which he is seen beside his victims.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
March 10, 2015 09:23
2 minute read.
Japanese hostages

Islamic State issues video purporting to show Japanese hostages. (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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Speaking to Sky News on Tuesday, a former translator for the Islamic State group described his time with the militant organization and specifically, witnessing the murder of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto at the hands of the figure known as Jihadi John.

Calling himself "Saleh", the defector confirmed that Jihadi John is indeed Mohammed Emwazi, the Kuwaiti born Londoner who emigrated to Britain in 1988 at the age of six.

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Emwazi, who has murdered multiple foreign journalists, including two Americans, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, is seen as the Islamic State group's chief executioner and, according to Saleh, has become both feared and respected in the organization.

Saleh described Goto's execution, explaining from a location in Turkey, where he has fled to, that Emwazi was in a position of significant power and influence.

"After he was killed him, three or four person come and take over the body and put in a car. After that, John went on a different road.

"The big boss was there with them. Turkish man say 'put this camera there, change place there' but John [was] the big boss. All time, all time say to all 'fastly, fastly, fastly, we should finish'. So respect him. Only he talks orders – others do."

Emwazi, whose father was a cab driver and who attended Quintin Kynaston Academy, a school which aims "to develop the best in every student", and then the University of Westminster where he studied computer programming , arrived in Syria in 2012 where he cultivated himself as the poster-child of the foreign fighters in the ranks of the Islamic State.



Part of Emwazi's appeal was his willingness, even enthusiasm in killing foreigners, decapitating them with a knife which he characteristically featured in various videos in which he is seen beside his victims.

"Maybe because he use the knife," he said. "I cannot understand why he is so strong. One man can kill and all people will respect. A Syrian man anyone [in IS] can kill. But strangers [foreigners], only John."

Saleh further described the process of deception and mental torture that ISIS captives were subjected to, explaining that they were initially told that they could be released if their governments met the organization's demand, that their detainment was temporary, but that they were then forced to partake in mock executions.

"He [Emwazi] would say to me 'say to them, no problem, only video, we don't kill you, we want from your government [to] stop attacking Syria. We don't have any problem with you; you are only our visitors'.

"So they don't worry. Always I say to them 'don't worry, doesn't matter, nothing dangerous for you. But at the end I was sure [they would die]."

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