A British man identified in reports as the Islamic State (IS) executioner known as ‘Jihadi John’ feared he was a “dead man walking” after run-ins with security services before fleeing to Syria to begin his reign of terror, email exchanges with a journalist have claimed.
Computer programming graduate Mohammed Emwazi said he considered suicide after coming face to face with what he suspected to be a British security agent as he attempted to sell a laptop computer in 2010.
In an email exchange with the Mail on Sunday (MoS) at the time, Emwazi described how he became suspicious of the mystery buyer after they met.
It was also claimed Emwazi was part of a cell orchestrated by Osama Bin Laden to wreak terror on the streets of London, including having a role in the failed July 21 bomb attacks in 2005, three weeks after the 7/7 bombings which killed 52 people and injured more than 700.
He told the MoS’s security editor Robert Verkaik he felt harassed by security services, in a series of emails in 2010, three years before he left to join IS, saying: “Sometimes I feel like a dead man walking, not fearing they [MI5] may kill me.
“Rather, fearing that one day, I’ll take as many pills as I can so that I will sleep for ever! I just want to get away from these people!”
It comes as British security services face pressure over accusations of failing to keep track of potential terror suspects and forcing desperate British Muslims into the clutches of Islamic extremist groups.
Home Secretary Theresa May rallied to the defence of the UK’s security and intelligence services, calling them “true heroes”, following claims on Thursday by campaign group Cage that MI5 drove Emwazi to extremism.
The University of Westminster has also hit back at claims it is a fertile breeding ground for Islamic fundamentalism as arguments rage over who is to blame over Jihadi John.
Kuwait-born Londoner Emwazi had been pinpointed as a potential terrorist by the British authorities but was nonetheless able to travel to Syria in 2013 and join a group responsible for the murder of several Western hostages.
Responding to claims from a fellow former student that the university allowed extremism, a spokesman for the institution said: “We condemn the promotion of radicalisation, terrorism and violence or threats against any member of our community.
“We have strict policies to promote tolerance among our 20,000 student community, who come to study from over 150 nations.”
The former head of MI6 hit back at claims that the security services played a role in Emwazi’s radicalisation.
However, John Sawers, head of MI6 from 2009 to 2014, said arguments that harassment drove Emwazi to join IS were “very specious”.
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