CHICAGO (Reuters) – The U.S. Justice Department on Saturday unveiled charges against an American woman who led an all-female Daesh Battalion terror squad that planned attacks on U.S. universities.
Allison Fluke-Ekren was charged in a sealed indictment after being apprehended in Syria in 2019, and was transferred to the FBI over the weekend to face a federal court judge Monday in Alexandria, Va.
Fluke-Ekren, also known as Allison Elizabeth Brooks, Allison Ekren, Umm Mohammed Al-Amriki, Umm Mohammed and Umm Jabril, traveled to Syria in 2014 to stage terrorist attacks, according to the statement. charge.
Justice Department officials said the 42-year-old former Kansas resident recruited agents for a potential future attack on a college campus in the United States.
She was the leader and designated organizer of a Daesh military battalion, known as Khatiba Nusaybah, to train women in the use of automatic-firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts. .
Fluke-Ekren is accused of “providing and conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization”. If found guilty, she faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
She reportedly provided accommodation for Daesh members, translated speeches given by Daesh leaders into Arabic for its recruits, and even trained children in the use of AK-47 assault rifles and suicide belts and taught extremist doctrine of Daesh, according to information published on Sunday.
The complaint details eyewitness sightings of six people who collectively observed his alleged terrorist conduct from at least 2014 to around 2017.
According to the FBI, she told a witness of her desire to carry out an attack in the United States.
“To carry out the attack, Fluke-Ekren allegedly explained that she could drive to a mall in the United States, park a vehicle loaded with explosives in the basement or parking lot level of the structure, and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cell phone triggering device. Fluke-Ekren would have viewed any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals as a waste of resources,” according to the Justice Department.
As alleged by the same witness, Fluke-Ekren would hear about external attacks taking place in countries other than the United States and would comment that she would have preferred the attack to occur on American soil.
The complaint further describes her alleged leadership role in the Khatiba Nusaybah, noting that a witness testified that in or around late 2016, the “wali” (or Daesh-appointed mayor) of Raqqa, in Syria, allegedly authorized the opening of the Khatiba Nusaybah, a military battalion composed entirely of female Daesh members married to male Daesh fighters.
Soon after, Fluke-Ekren would become the battalion’s leader and organizer. Her alleged primary purpose in this role was to teach Daesh women how to defend themselves against their enemies.
According to another witness, Daesh commissioned women who were staying in Raqqa during the 2017 siege to attend the training. The siege was launched by the Syrian Democratic Forces against Daesh in a bid to seize Raqqa, the militant organization’s former de facto capital in Syria.
The battle began on or around June 6, 2017 and ended on or around October 17, 2017, when the SDF regained control of Raqqa.
Members of the Khatiba Nusaybah were reportedly instructed in physical training, medical training, vehicle-borne improvised explosive device driving lessons, religious lessons, and how to pack and prepare a “bag of travel” with guns and other military supplies.
According to eyewitness accounts, some of these courses were taught by Fluke-Ekren. One witness in particular reportedly observed that Daesh leaders and other members of the battalion were proud to have an American instructor.
U.S. Attorney Jessica D. Aber for the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and Deputy Director-in-Charge Steven M. D’Antuono of the Field Office of the FBI in Washington made the announcement.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh and Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Gibbs of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia are pursuing the case, with assistance from the Counterterrorism Section of the National Security Division.