A former Kansas instructor who led an all-female Islamic State army battalion and plotted terror assaults on Americans has been nabbed in Syria, federal prosecutors said as they unsealed the criminal case late Friday.
Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, who was charged in May 2019 with offering and conspiring to offer materials help to ISIS, a chosen terrorist group, was lastly dropped at the Eastern District of Virginia on Friday evening after she was arrested in Syria.
The feds say Fluke-Ekren left the U.S. in 2008 for Egypt and migrated to Libya then Syria round 2012 together with her husband, an ISIS sniper coach. The pair “were smuggled into Syria because the terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia was no longer conducting attacks in Libya, and Fluke-Ekren wished to engage in violent jihad,” one witness allegedly advised investigators.
Fluke-Ekren and her husband allegedly introduced $15,000 into Syria to purchase weapons, grenades and different army provides. She has been concerned in an unlimited array of actions on behalf of ISIS since at the least 2014, prosecutors say.
A blog called “4 Kansas Kids” created to “share the adventures of the Fluke-Ekren family” seems to point out pictures of Fluke-Ekren and her youngsters, smiling in entrance of Egyptian pyramids and enjoying within the snow within the rural Midwest round 2010.
The Lawrence Journal-World additionally published a 2004 article on homeschooling developments through which Fluke-Ekren is quoted explaining her dissatisfaction with public education. Homeschooling enabled her to show Arabic to her youngsters, she mentioned.
But a criminal complaint consists of observations from six individuals who witnessed Fluke-Ekren’s actions in Syria between 2014 and 2017, allegedly she performed a job in planning and recruiting operatives for a possible assault on an American faculty campus. The plot by no means manifested as a result of she fell pregnant, the grievance says.
One witness recounted Fluke-Ekren presenting the school assault plan and saying the concept got here out of a need to hunt “vengeance” after kids had been killed when a market space in Syria was bombed by airstrikes that she blamed on the United States.
Fluke-Ekren was additionally a frontrunner and organizer of an ISIS army battalion identified as the Nusaybah Battalion, and she or he skilled ladies and youngsters to make use of AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts, the prison grievance says.
She offered lodging for ISIS recruits, taught extremist doctrine to youngsters, and translated speeches from Turkish and Arabic to be disseminated on-line for ISIS leaders, prosecutors allege.
A witness advised FBI brokers that on one event, they noticed one of Fluke-Ekren’s sons, who she mentioned was roughly 5 or 6, holding a machine gun throughout a go to to her house, which regularly had assault rifles laying round.
A member of the family of Fluke-Ekren’s additionally described her as a “jihadist” and an “ISIS member,” allegedly telling investigators that she “does not like America or Americans.” She as soon as talked about going to a U.S. shopping center and detonating a automobile piled with explosives in a parking storage, the member of the family mentioned, although she supposedly didn’t observe by way of as a result of her husband objected.
According to the grievance, the member of the family mentioned that, in spite of her husband’s resistance, Fluke-Ekren “admitted that she fantasized about conducting other attacks,” and “considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources.”
After the sniper-trainer husband died in an airstrike, prosecutors say Fluke-Ekren moved to ISIS headquarters in Raqqa in 2012 and married a drone specialist who additionally died about 5 years later. She then wed a army chief who oversaw the protection of Raqqa.
In 2017, a witness who turned concerned with the Nusaybah Battalion whereas dwelling in Raqqa advised investigators that the group was “an all-female ISIS military unit,” whose goal “was to train the women of ISIS to fight.”
Its members had been allegedly given bodily and medical coaching, attended non secular courses, and had been taught to pack a “go bag” filled with rifles and army provides. Some of these courses had been taught by Fluke-Ekren, witnesses advised investigators.
According to the grievance, Fluke-Ekren organized for a message to be despatched to her household within the U.S. in 2018 claiming she was lifeless so the U.S. authorities wouldn’t attempt to discover her. She additionally allegedly advised a witness she by no means needed to return to the U.S. and supposed to die as a martyr, prosecutors say.
Fluke-Ekren has an preliminary courtroom look scheduled for Monday. If convicted, she faces as much as 20 years in jail.