5 Mar 2015

Jihadi John: first video of Mohammed Emwazi unmasked

Channel 4 News obtains the first video footage unmasking Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State group fighter recently revealed to be “Jihadi John”.

It is the first time any moving images have been obtained of Emwazi before he became the chief propagandist of the self-styled Islamic State.

The film shows a teenage boy being picked to play football, and continually moving his stance to avoid the camera’s gaze.

Shot in the playground of Quintin Kynaston Academy, Emwazi’s north-west London school, the images show around a dozen school boys picking teams and taking part in a playground game of football.

One of the school boys can clearly be heard shouting, “Emwazi”, beckoning over the boy who would become “Jihadi John”.

Read more: 'How could he use his talents for such evil?' - James Foley's mother

The footage shows Emwazi, who was 15 at the time, picked second for the lunch time kick-around.

Wearing a light grey hoodie and backpack over his uniform of light blue polo shirt and black trousers, he crosses the playground, masking his face with his arm.

As teams continue to be picked the camera circles the group of boys, but Emwazi shuffles around to keep his back to the camera at all times.

He casually walks away from the camera with his teammates, sipping from a Lucozade bottle.

The video was shot at the school in May 2004.

A former teacher and a former classmate confirmed to Channel 4 News the images showed Emwazi.

Last week Mohammed Emwazi was revealed by the Washington Post to be “Jihadi John”, the Islamic State group executioner who appears to have beheaded a number of hostages on film, including the American journalists James Foley and Stephen Sotloff, and the British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan ordered an investigation into Quintin Kynaston, after Emwazi was named as the third former student to join ISIS.

Fellow student Choukri Ellekhlifi was killed in Syria in 2013 while fighting alongside Islamic State members. Earlier this week Channel 4 News obtained video footage of the jihadist, who may have guarded hostages alongside Mohammed Emwazi in Syria.

Mohammed Sakr, who was three years older than Emwazi, died in a US drone strike in Somalia in 2012.