A terrorist who posed with an AK-47 and vowed to ‘wed’ bullets with the ‘Americans and British’ in a chilling video shot on a Samsung phone which was shared by four British Jihadis in Syria has been named as one of the ‘Woolwich Boys’ drug gang.
In May, footage from the Samsung Galaxy smartphone revealed a chilling insight into the lives of four men – all now dead – as they travelled to the Raqqa in Syria in 2013, the former ‘capital’ of ISIS.
Three of the men had already been identified – British (ie, holder of a British passport) Choukri Ellekhlifi, 22, Fatlum Shalaku, 20, and Muhammad Mehdi Hassan, 19 – and the fourth man has now been identified as Abdullah Hassan, … one of up to 20 men linked to the notorious “Woolwich Boys” drug gang who are now believed to have travelled abroad for jihad. This may be the highest concentration of terrorists to emerge from any area of the UK.
The four were suspected to have owned the Samsung smartphone on which Hassan – previously unidentified – had vowed in one video: “We are going to wed our bullets with the Americans and the British, inshallah [God willing],” he raged in a strong London accent as he switched from the assault rifle to a Glock pistol. “These bullets will be wedded with your bodies. Americans, British, French . . . we are here. Allah will give us victory.”
Hassan, then in his early twenties, was also photographed in a school-like canteen for Isis recruits. Among the diners next to him are Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan, who was later killed by an RAF drone strike, and Abdullah Elmir, an Australian who married one of the teenage girls from Bethnal Green, east London, who became Isis brides.
It is still unclear if Hassan, who was also known as Abdi, was born in Britain or arrived with his family as refugees from their native Somalia. However, his Facebook profile (profile picture taken in 2015 left) shows a well-integrated youngster whose favourite television programmes included Only Fools and Horses and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
Photographs taken on the Milne estate in 2013 — the year terrorists murdered Fusilier Lee Rigby outside the nearby army barracks — show Hassan smiling in a crisp blue denim shirt and posing with trendy shades in a Converse T-shirt. Sources believe it was around this time that Hassan fell in with members of the Woolwich Boys, a Somali-led gang involved in county lines drug-dealing.
Michael Adebowale, one of Rigby’s killers, is among those who have previously been linked to the Woolwich Boys. The gang, which reportedly boasted about 300 members and associates, is known to have been targeted by Islamist hate preachers…
One reformed former gangster said he knew of 16 men who went to fight in war zones in the cause of ‘jihad’ – he added that all were now dead. (He said) “We were extreme in the streets, and when I came to the religion [Islam] we just went from one extreme to another.”
Choukri Ellekhlifi was the first to use the phone in 2013 after leaving his home near the A40 flyover in West London to join 14 other men, known as the ‘Westway warriors’, who had left for Syria from that area. Ellekhlifi attended the same school as Mohammed Emwazi, better known as Jihadi John, a ‘Westway warrior’ and leader of the so called ‘Beatles’ – a group that became notorious for their kidnap-and-kill crimes. Ellekhlifi was killed fighting alongside Al Qaeda-linked extremists in Syria in 2013.
Another user of the phone was Fatlum Shalaku, 20, from Ladbroke grove, who blew himself up in ISIS’s successful assault on Ramadi, Iraq, in 2015.
Tech geek Muhammad Mehdi Hassan, 20, a former private school pupil from Portsmouth is also believed to have used the phone, using his tech knowledge to offer online tips to new recruits planning to join jihad in Syria. Hassan left Britain for Syria age 19 despite an offer at Surrey University to study international politics.
Although Hassan’s fate seems to be well known on the estate, other anguished parents have been left in limbo, according to a Somali community leader. “What people know is that their children are missing,” he said.