Islamic State executioner ‘Jihadi John’ was a computer science grad (and more of what we know)

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Jihadi John, the man apparently responsible for beheading Islamic State hostages, including American journalist James Foley, has been identified by the Washington Post as Mohammed Emwazi, a mid-20s college graduate from London.

Here are five things we know so far about the man in the balaclava:

1. Emwazi reportedly graduated from the University of Westminster with a degree in computer programming. Friends told the Post he was "polite and had a penchant for wearing stylish clothes."


The University of Westminster said in a statement that someone with Emwazi's name left college six years ago.

"If these allegations are true, we are shocked and sickened by the news," read the statement. "Our thoughts are with the victims and their families."

2. He was apparently born in Kuwait, but grew up in West London before traveling to Syria around 2012. The New York Times reported that Emwazi is 27.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

Police officers are pictured near the home where Islamic State militant Mohammed Emwazi, popularly known as Jihadi John, is believed to have once lived is pictured on February 26, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

3. Despite the Islamic State’s broad social presence, Emwazi has very little in the way of an online profile. He was last seen in a January video appearing to behead Japanese hostage Kenji Goto.


4. He may have begun to radicalize after graduation, when a safari trip to Tanzania went awry. Emwazi was reportedly detained and claimed that a British security officer accused him of attempting to reach Somalia, home to the radical militant group al-Shabab. He was also reportedly prevented from returning to Kuwait. It remains unclear how or when he finally reached Syria.

5. Upon hearing about the sentencing of Aafia Siddiqui, an al-Qaeda member know as "Lady al-Qaeda" convicted of trying to murder Americans in Afghanistan, Emwazi reportedly said the "upsetting news regarding our sister…should only keep us firmer towards fighting for freedom and justice!!!"


British and U.S. officials both declined the Post's request for comment, as did Emwazi's family, but a senior British security official told the Times that the British government had identified Emwazi some time ago but kept his identity secret.

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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