The image is seared into our minds: American journalist James Foley, eyes shut, waiting to meet his fate; a black-hooded man waving a knife standing next to him.
In a moment, Foley would be dead and the masked man, who read out Foley’s alleged crimes with an English accent, would spark a search for a Briton who could be the executioner.
Newly discovered photos and video footage increasingly point to 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, a rising rap star who joined ISIS, the self-proclaimed terrorist Islamic State, after leaving his parents’ leafy £1million (US$1.66 million) home in Maida Vale to fight in Syria, according to the Daily Mirror.
Early shots show Bary, known as Jihadi John, wearing western brands such as Adidas hoodies as he raps in the studio while another shows him squaring up to riot police.
Later images show him in military fatigues and a mask, wielding AK-47 and M16 assault rifles.
The pictures are from a 2012 Facebook page which has now been removed.
In posts alongside the images he attacks “western propaganda”, writing: “Shame on you Muslims that are embarrassed of mujahids/jihads …”
In another post: “Those who strive to defend the lives and freedom of helpless women and children are branded as blackguards, extremists, Islamists and terrorists.”
Friends said Bary became radicalized after a meeting with extremists linked to hate preacher Anjem Choudary.
“He had the talent. He could have been as big as Dizzee Rascal. He was doing music with huge names in the underground scene,” a former friend was quoted as saying.
People got into his head and transformed him into a vengeful extremist, he said.
Authorities are also looking into Abu Hussain Al-Britani, 20, a computer hacker from Birmingham, and Abu Abdullah al-Britani, 23, from Portsmouth.
A team of SAS soldiers are on the ground in Iraq and Syria, hoping to catch Foley’s killer in a stepped up manhunt after British intelligence services said they now now know the identity of Jihadi John.
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