By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press
FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — A mother who once lived in Kansas has been arrested after federal prosecutors accused her of joining the Islamic State group and leading an all-female battalion of AK-wielding militants -47.
The U.S. Attorney in Alexandria, Va., announced Saturday that Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, has been charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization.
The criminal complaint was filed under seal in 2019 but made public on Saturday after Fluke-Ekren was flown back to the United States on Friday to face charges. His alleged involvement in the Islamic State had not been made public until Saturday’s announcement.
Prosecutors said Fluke-Ekren wanted to recruit agents to attack a college campus in the United States and discussed a terrorist attack on a shopping mall.
An affidavit from FBI Special Agent David Robins also alleges that Fluke-Ekren became the leader of an Islamic State unit called “Khatiba Nusaybah” in the Syrian city of Raqqa in late 2016. The all-female unit has been trained in the use of the AK-47. guns, grenades and suicide belts.
A detention note filed Friday by First Assistant US Attorney Raj Parekh says Fluke-Ekren even trained children in the use of assault rifles, and that at least one witness saw one of the children in Fluke-Ekren, about 5 or 6 years old, holding a machine. firearm in the family home in Syria.
“Fluke-Ekren has been a strong supporter of the radical Islamic State terrorist ideology for many years, having traveled to Syria to commit or support violent jihad. Fluke-Ekren has translated his extremist beliefs into action by serving designated leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion, directly training women and children in the use of AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and suicide belts in support of deadly ISIS targets Islamic State,” Parekh wrote.
According to court documents, Fluke-Ekren moved to Egypt in 2008 and traveled frequently between Egypt and the United States over the next three years. She hasn’t been to the United States since 2011.
Prosecutors believe she moved to Syria around 2012. In early 2016, her husband was killed in the Syrian town of Tell Abyad while attempting to carry out a terror attack, prosecutors said. Later that year, prosecutors said she married a Bangladeshi ISIS operative who specialized in drones, but he died in late 2016 or early 2017.
Four months after that man’s death, she remarried again to a prominent Islamic State leader responsible for the Islamic State group’s defense of Raqqa.
Photos from a family blog called 4KansasKids show her and her children during the years they traveled between Kansas and Egypt, posing at the base of the pyramids in Egypt and playing in the snow in the United States.
A 2004 article on homeschooling in the Lawrence Journal-World featured Fluke-Ekren and her children. She told the newspaper that she withdrew her children from public school because she was unhappy with the performance of her children in public and private schools. Homeschooling allowed her to teach Arabic to her children.
Court documents do not indicate how she was captured or how long she was held before being turned over to the FBI on Friday.
She is scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Alexandria on Monday, when she will likely be appointed as an attorney.
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