Kuwaiti authorities are currently questioning the father of a Kuwaiti-born Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) member known as "Jihadi John," local newspapers reported on Monday. Mohamed Emwazi, whose real identity has been revealed in recent days by international media outlets, has appeared in a number of ISIS videos executing U.S., British and Japanese hostages.
A U.K. national, Emwazi was originally a "stateless" resident of Kuwait whose family hails from Iraq, according to Kuwaiti media. Kuwaiti daily Al-Qabs reported that Emwazi's father had been questioned by security agencies on Sunday. During the questioning, Emwazi's father said his wife had recognized their son's voice when he first appeared in a video showing the execution of American hostage James Foley last august, the newspaper quoted an "informed source" as saying. The elder Emwazi said his son had been a devout Muslim since his early teenage years, noting that his son's last contact with the family had been from Turkey in mid-2013, when he informed them of his plan to volunteer for "humanitarian work" in Syria, according to the paper. "The family has been waiting for news of his death ever since," the paper asserted.
Originally a computer engineer, the younger Emwazi's last visit to Kuwait was in 2010, when he returned from Turkey in search of a job, his father told the newspaper, adding that he had later decided to go to the U.K. in hopes of better employment prospects. The questioning revealed that Emwazi had worked for Kuwait's Interior Ministry from 1980 to 1993 and that he had later left for Britain with his family after giving up on the notion of obtaining Kuwaiti citizenship, the paper said. He was granted British citizenship in 2002 and returned to Kuwait the following year, the paper added.
Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Rai, for its part, confirmed that Emwazi had worked in Kuwait as a salesman for a computer company in 2010. "He worked for three months before going to London for a five-day emergency leave - never to be seen again," the paper quoted an official from the computer company as saying. "He was the best employee in the history of the company. He was polite, quiet and committed. He took himself seriously and rarely smiled or spoke much," the company official was quoted as saying.
Last week, international news outlets revealed the identity of "Jihadi John," whose recent appearances on several execution videos have since made him one of the world's most wanted men. Emwazi had been known to the U.K. security services for some time, but they chose not to reveal his name for "operational" reasons, the BBC reported on Thursday. He first appeared last August in a video that purported to show the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley. Emwazi appeared in subsequent videos purportedly showing the execution of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig.
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