The masked militant in an Islamic State video, purportedly showing the execution of five men, is believed to be a British national who formerly ran a business renting out children’s inflatable bouncy castles.
British media identified Siddhartha Dhar as the masked man seen in a video showing the execution of purported Western “spies” at close range.
Citing an official source, the BBC said Dhar has become the focus of an investigation into Sunday’s video in which the masked man vows that extremists will soon invade Britain.
According to the British news outlet, Dhar once operated a business that rented out inflatable bouncy castles in London.
Dhar, who was born a Hindu, converted to Islam and was arrested in 2014 for suspected links to extremists groups, but fled to Syria after he was freed on bail.
According to Reuters, Dhar, who is also known as Abu Rumaysah, is one of Britain’s most high-profile Islamists and an associate of Anjem Choudary, an Islamist preacher who has been charged with terrorism offences.
The masked militant in Sunday’s video appears to be a replacement for Mohamed Emwazi, the British-accented man known as “Jihadi John,” who was killed in a drone strike in Syria in November. The British-born Muslim had figured prominently in earlier ISIS beheading videos.
A young boy, thought to be four or five years old, also appears in Sunday’s video, threatening Britons.
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The child was identified by a man claiming to be the child’s grandfather, according to Britain’s Channel 4 News. The man, whose daughter converted to Islam and moved to Syria with her family, said the boy doesn’t know what he is doing and is being used for propaganda purposes.
London Mayor Boris Johnson said Tuesday that that boy should be placed in foster care.
“This child is a victim of child abuse and he is, as I understand it, a British national,” Johnson said. “I think we have a duty of care.”
–with files from The Associated Press
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