British jihadists join ISIS for jihad - Tucson News Now

British jihadists join ISIS for jihad

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ISIS is hoping to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and is using a propaganda video to recruit new members. (Source: ISIS/CNN) ISIS is hoping to establish an Islamic caliphate in the Middle East and is using a propaganda video to recruit new members. (Source: ISIS/CNN)
Abu Anwar is a jihadi from England. He has not yet joined ISIS, but says that he is considering it.  (Source: CNN) Abu Anwar is a jihadi from England. He has not yet joined ISIS, but says that he is considering it. (Source: CNN)
Abu Huraira al-Amriki is an American suicide bomber who packed a truck full of explosives and detonated it at a Syrian army post.  (Source: Hanein/CNN) Abu Huraira al-Amriki is an American suicide bomber who packed a truck full of explosives and detonated it at a Syrian army post. (Source: Hanein/CNN)
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(CNN) – ISIS is knows for using extreme violence, including summary executions, beheadings and massacres. Now, as the group advances on the battlefield in Iraq, it's also extending its reach to new followers in the Middle East.

The call to jihad comes in the form of a propaganda video as militants from ISIS establish a territorial foothold stretching from Syria to Iraq. As the video shows, ISIS hopes it is the beginning of an Islamic caliphate to sweep the region.

It's a message that's reaching extremists in other parts of the world. Three young men traveled to Syria for jihad. They agreed to speak from Idlib, Syria, if their faces were not shown. One man calls himself Abu Anwar. He is British.

"I'm from the South of England," Anwar said. "I grew up in a middle class family. Life was easy back home. I had a job. I had a car. But the thing is: You cannot practice Islam back home. We see all around us evil. We cannot do anything about this because we are living by the laws of cooper."

Abu Anwar and his friends are online, like many young me. The post Instagram photos that make guns and holy war seem cool.

But what they don't show is the brutality. The group has boasted about executing Iraqi soldiers in cold blood. ISIS has committed massacres and acts of terror so extreme that even al Qaeda has disavowed them.

Abu Anwar's family knows he's in Syria.

"They are not happy with them being here, as you can expect." Anwar said. "But when I give them dawa. Islamic propagation, and gradually they see the reality, they hear the reality from me that they don't hear from the BBC."

How many like Abu Anwar are out there? There are thousands from all across Europe, according to estimates. The Soufan Group, a security consulting firm, estimates there are around 700 from France, 800 from Russia and almost 400 in the U.K., not to mention Germany and Belgium.

But analyst say these are only the movements they can track. The actual numbers may be higher. And with ISIS victories in Iraq, authorities fear even more will be drawn to fight.

Moner Mohammad Abusalha, a 22-year-old American known as Abu Huraira al-Amriki was one of them. Authorities say that last month, he packed a truck full of explosives, drove it to a Syrian army position and detonated it, killing himself. Abu Anwar says he was a friend of Abu Huraira's

"He was the best person I have ever met in my life," Anwar said. "He had the best character. Abu Huraira believed this operation would allow him to go in and kill many of the enemy including himself. He told me, ‘if I go on this martyrdom mission, don't go back to England.'"

Abu Anwar says he too wants to carry out a suicide attack, inspired by his friend, what he calls a martyrdom mission. But when asked if he would return to Britain and carry out an attack back home, he said no.

"If I come back home, it will be when I conquer Europe and the black flag of Islam is flying over Downing Street," Anwar said. "I only have the intention of coming back as a conqueror."

For now, Abu Anwar insists the immediate goal is to establish a caliphate in Syria and Iraq. When asked if he will join ISIS in Iraq, he said that he is considering it.

For Abu Anwar, and others like him, the call to jihad is too strong to resist.

Copyright 2014 CNN. All rights reserved.

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