UK ban for London Jihadi who fled to Syria
An Islamic State fighter from London who has been arrested in Spain after escaping from Syria has been stripped of his British citizenship to prevent him returning to this country.
Abdel-Majed Abdel-Bary, a former rapper from Maida Vale who once posed with the severed head of a Syrian soldier, was caught by Spanish police in Almeira with two other men after apparently entering from north Africa.
Police described the arrest as involving “one of the most wanted Daesh fighters in Europe” both because of the danger he continues to pose and his record in Syria with IS.
His detention initially raised fears that he might eventually be sent back to Britain where he was raised in west London by his father, an Egyptian Islamist later jailed for his involvement in the bombing of US embassies in east Africa, and mother.
But sources today disclosed that Abdel-Bary, who was described by police as “an Egyptian national”, has already been stripped of his British passport by the Home Office and will never be allowed to return.
That news will reassure security officials here who continue to grapple with an intensive level of terrorist plotting.
It will also remove the need for police and prosecutors to try to assemble evidence for a prosecution that would reflect Abdel-Bary’s activities in Syria.
Today, however, the focus was on video footage posted by Spanish police that shows the moment Abdel-Bary and his two associates were arrested by armed officers. The three were brought out soon after with their heads covered by cloth.
The Spanish interior ministry said an “Egyptian man” who had appeared in gory propaganda pictures of IS crimes had been held adding he “presents peculiar personality features such as an extremely violent criminal profile”.
Abdel-Bary, 28, was involved in drug dealing before going to Syria to join IS with Junaid Hussain, who was later killed in a US airstrike after being labelled the “most dangerous terrorist in the world”.
Once in Syria, Abdel-Bary posed in photos with guns, describing himself as a “soldier of Allah”.
There was speculation at the time that he could be “Jihadi John” — the militant who beheaded a number of western hostages — later revealed to be Mohammed Emwazi.
Abdel-Bary disappeared after fleeing Syria as IS came under attack from the US-led coalition. His discovery in Europe will heighten concerns that other foreign fighters could have exploited migration routes to return.