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German companion of 'Jihadi John' identified

March 8, 2015

One of the men who traveled with Mohammed Emwazi to try and join al-Shabab in Somalia has been identified. The young man from Düsseldorf was later arrested when he was discovered with a counterfeit ID.

IS / Islamischer Staat / Video Enthauptung David Haines / Ausschnitt
Image: Reuters

The German companion of "Jihadi John" has been identified by the media as the 29-year-old Marcel S. from Düsseldorf, currently back in his hometown after being convicted for traveling with false documents last fall.

Marcel S., known only by his first name due to German privacy laws, was named in similar reports from new outlets Spiegel Online and the British newspaper Mail on Sunday as one of three young men who traveled together to Tanzania in 2009 in an effort to reach Somalia and join the jihadist terror militia al-Shabab. They were refused entry and deported.

One of the other men was Kuwait-born, London-raised Mohammed Emwazi, identified 10 days ago as the balaclava-clad "Islamic State" (IS) spokesman with a British accent who appears to be the killer in the group's gruesome videos depicting the beheadings of several hostages.

German security authorities have been aware of Marcel S.'s radicalization since the attempted Tanzania trip. In September 2013, he was arrested at Frankfurt Airport after returning from Cairo with a counterfeit French ID.

Marcel S. told Spiegel Online that he has since rejected the Islamist scene, saying "I don't have anything to do with that whole thing anymore."

es/cmk (AFP, dpa)