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Thursday, December 1, 2022

Kansas woman charged with leading an all-female ISIS battalion in Syria ordered jailed ahead of trial

Washington — The Kansas woman accused of traveling to Syria in support of the Islamic State was ordered detained pending trial on Thursday following her arrest late last month. 

Allison Fluke-Ekren, described in charging documents as a mother and teacher-turned ISIS battalion leader, was last in the U.S. on or about January 8, 2011, government travel records show, before ultimately emerging in Syria in 2014.

Once there, according to one of at least six government witnesses who say they interacted with the defendant, Ekren allegedly presented a plan of attack to a paid U.S. foreign government source. 

That plan, prosecutors say, was for Ekren and other members of the ISIS community in Syria to “dress like infidels” and attack an American college campus with a backpack full of explosives. The attack was ultimately put on hold, court documents explain. 

During an interaction with another government witness in Syria as described in court filings, Ekren is accused of presenting an attack whereby she could park a car full of explosives on the first floor of a parking garage and detonate the bomb with a cellphone trigger.

“Any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals,” the described mother of young children allegedly told the government witness, was a “waste of resources.”

That attack on the parking garage was also stopped after Ekren’s then-husband is said to have objected. 

Charging documents describe Ekren’s multiple husbands and their alleged connections to the Islamic state. Government witnesses said one of her husbands was “the emir…of the snipers for ISIS,” another was an ISIS fighter from Bangladesh. 

By 2016, according to a government witness, Ekren was pregnant, had children, and was married to the Bangladeshi fighter. In 2014, another informant alleged one of the defendant’s children, approximately five or six years old at the time, wielded a machine gun. 

But it wasn’t just her own children among whom Ekren allegedly promoted gun use. She was also the leader of an all-female ISIS battalion and taught women how to defend themselves against ISIS enemies, prosecutors allege. 

She was “appointed leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion located in Syria, known as the Khatiba Nusaybah, in order to train women on the use of automatic firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts,” a government filing says.  

“Fluke-Ekren was ‘off the charts’ and an ’11 or a 12′ on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being extremely radicalized,” said a government witness as described in court filings.

“According to the same witness, over 100 women and young girls received military training from Fluke-Ekren in Syria on behalf of ISIS.” 

Ekren, they wrote, “wanted to die in Syria as a martyr.” 

As for her American family, prosecutors said on Monday that Ekren’s mother, father, stepmother, and two adult children all requested that she not make any contact with them from the Virginia jail in which she is being held. 

In court Thursday, Ekren, wearing a green prison uniform, mask, and head covering, did not object to the government’s request for her detention. 

Prosecutors briefly stated that she worked for “an extremely violent and callous terrorist organization” before Judge Ivan Davis agreed to jail the defendant. 

Neither Ekren’s defense attorneys nor prosecutors commented on the case following Thursday’s hearing. 


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