What We Know About the US Woman Accused of Leading an All-Female ISIS Battalion - DMT NEWS

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What We Know About the US Woman Accused of Leading an All-Female ISIS Battalion

A former teacher from Kansas accused of leading an all-female ISIS military battalion and planning terrorist attacks in shopping malls and college campuses in the U.S. will appear in court for the first time on Monday.

Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, was detained in Syria at an unknown date and flown to the Eastern District of Virginia by the FBI over the weekend where she was charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support or resources to ISIS. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The details of her capture in Syria were not made available by the Department of Justice.

A 2019 indictment that was unsealed over the weekend lays out a litany of allegations against the former teacher, including planning and recruiting operatives for a potential future attack on a college campus inside the U.S., serving as the leader and organizer of the all-female ISIS military battalion known as the “Khatiba Nusaybah,” and training women and children in the use of automatic assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts.

The indictment alleges that Fluke-Ekren remarried several times after her husband was killed while trying to conduct a terror attack for ISIS. One of her husbands — we don’t know which — was allegedly a prominent ISIS military leader.

She will make her first court appearance at the federal courthouse in Alexandria on Monday at 2 p.m.

Here’s everything we know about Fluke-Ekren and what she is accused of doing.

Who is Allison Fluke-Ekren?

Fluke-Ekren, 42, is a U.S. citizen who previously lived in Kansas. According to this LinkedIn profile that bears the defendant’s name, Fluke-Ekren lists her location as Overbrook, a tiny town of just 1,000 people, south of Topeka.

One source who spoke to the FBI said Fluke-Ekren told them she had met her first husband in the U.S. and that she worked as a teacher there.

A personal blog maintained by Fluke-Ekren called 4 Kansas Kids was filled with family pictures and updates about their lives. It showed that in 2008 the family spent some time in Egypt and that by 2009 they were living in Turkey. In both countries, Fluke-Ekren worked as a teacher

In April 2010, the family welcomed their fifth child and the final blog post was published in June 2010.

It is unclear exactly when Fluke-Ekren moved to Syria. But according to one of the sources who gave evidence to the FBI, Fluke-Ekren and her family crossed the border from Turkey into Syria in 2014 with the intent of “living in the land of Sharia.” 2014 was the year ISIS came to global prominence when the group captured the city of Mosul from the Iraqi army.

Fluke-Ekren told one witness cited in the indictment that she attempted to send a message to her family to trick them into believing she was dead, in order that the U.S. government would not try to find her.

She also claimed to the witness that she never wanted to go back to the United States and wanted to die a martyr in Syria.

What is Fluke-Ekren accused of doing?

One source told the FBI that they lived with Fluke-Ekren for a number of weeks in the Syrian city of Al-Bab, then an ISIS stronghold, in 2014 and alleged that Fluke-Ekren and her husband had brought $15,000 with them, and used that money to purchase AK-47s, grenades and other weapons. The source said Fluke-Ekren’s husband was a sniper trainer for ISIS at the time.

The indictment does contain any information about the nationality or name of Fluke-Ekren’s husband at this time.

The source goes on to allege that Fluke-Ekren outlined a plan to attack a U.S. college by “dressing like infidels” and dropping off a backpack filled with explosives, adding that she was planning to enter the U.S. via Mexico.

The plan, according to Fluke-Ekren, had been approved by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, then-leader of ISIS, who was subsequently killed by a U.S. operation in 2019.

But her plans were put on hold because she discovered she was pregnant in late 2014. This did not stop her from helping the ISIS cause, however, as the source who had lived with Fluke-Ekren told the FBI that Fluke-Ekren worked on translating speeches from the group’s leaders so they could be more widely shared online. Fluke-Ekren was fluent in English, Turkish, Arabic, and Spanish, according to another FBI source, who was a member of Fluke-Ekren’s family.

She was also allegedly responsible for teaching extremist doctrine, and training women and children in the use of weapons as well as suicide vests, the first witness said.

In 2016, speaking to a member of her own family who was with her in Syria, Fluke-Ekren suggested parking a vehicle packed with explosives in the basement or the parking garage of a shopping mall and triggering the explosion with a cell phone, the indictment says.

The witness added that Fluke-Ekren didn’t continue with such a plan because her then-husband had objected.

Fluke-Ekren however continued to fantasize about attacking locations with large crowds of people, according to the witness’s statement, believing that any attack that didn’t kill a large number of people to be “a waste of resources.”

Several sources told the FBI that Fluke-Ekren’s house was filled with weapons and that she was rarely seen without a gun. One witness, who met Fluke-Ekren in the Syrian city of Tabqah, claims to have seen one of the Fluke-Ekren’s sons, who was five or six at the time, holding a machine gun.

In 2016, Fluke-Ekren appears to have moved to Raqqa, ISIS’ self-proclaimed capital, where she took on a new leadership role within the group.

What is the Khatiba Nusaybah?

In late 2016, the “Wali” or ISIS-appointed mayor of Raqqa allegedly permitted the opening of the “Khatiba Nusaybah,” which was a military battalion comprised solely of female ISIS members who were married to male ISIS fighters.

Fluke-Ekren initially attended meetings at the invitation of the Wali, but soon took on a leadership role. According to one witness’ testimony, Fluke-Ekren would travel to multiple training centers dotted around Raqqa to teach the women of ISIS how to defend themselves against the group’s enemies.

“According to another witness, ISIS allegedly mandated women who were staying in Raqqa during the 2017 siege to attend the training. The siege was launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) against ISIS with an aim to seize Raqqa. The battle began on or about June 6, 2017 and concluded on or about Oct. 17, 2017, at which point the SDF regained control of Raqqa,” the Department of Justice said in a statement announcing Fluke-Ekren’s arrest.

One of the roles Fluke-Ekren was assigned was to form a section of fighters known as “Inghimasiyin”, who were soldiers trained to sneak into and infiltrate enemy positions with AK-47s before detonating grenades and explosive suicide vests when they ran out of ammunition. She was also told to train suicide bombers in the use of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).

Eye witness accounts cited in the indictment claim that Fluke-Ekren was among those teaching the battalion’s classes, which allegedly included lessons on physical training, medical training, VBIED driving courses, religious classes, and how to pack and prep a “go bag” with rifles and other military supplies.

“One witness in particular allegedly observed that the leaders of ISIS and the other members of the military battalion were proud to have an American instructor,” the DOJ wrote in its statement. “Fluke-Ekren also allegedly trained children on the use of automatic firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts.”

What do we know about her husbands?

Fluke-Ekren has been married multiple times in recent years, according to the FBI indictment.

After she moved to Syria her then-husband, whose name and nationality was not revealed, was working with ISIS as the “emir” or leader of the snipers for ISIS. However, he was killed in 2016 in an airstrike on the Syrian city of Tell Abyad where he was in the process of conducting a terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS.

Months later, however, Fluke-Ekren had married a Bangladeshi ISIS member who specialized in drones, according to testimony from Fluke-Ekren’s family member that spoke to the FBI. Her second husband was involved in building several drones for ISIS, including one that was going to be used to drop chemical weapons from the air. However, he died in late 2016 or early 2017 before he could complete the project.

Four months later, according to the same source, Fluke-Ekren married again, this time to a prominent ISIS leader who has responsibility for the defense of Raqqa.

Fluke-Ekren told a different FBI source that she was raising a child who was not her own, after their parents had died in a suicide bomb attack they participated in on behalf of ISIS.



via https://www.DMT.NEWS

David Gilbert, Khareem Sudlow