Members of Iraq’s Counter-Terrorism Service celebrate with an upside-down ISIS flag in the Old City of Mosul, July 2, 2017.
AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images
- A Kansas woman pleaded guilty to training and arming an all-women ISIS battalion on Tuesday.
- Allison Fluke-Ekren worked with extremist groups in Benghazi, Syria, and Iraq, per the DOJ.
- She gained the trust of top ISIS officials and faces a maximum 20 year prison sentence.
A Kansas woman pleaded guilty in federal court to organizing and leading an all-women ISIS battalion in Syria and providing material support to a terrorist organization on Tuesday, according to the US Department of Justice.
According to court documents, former Kansas resident Allison Fluke-Ekren, who went under the alias Umm Mohammed al-Amriki, trained at least 100 women in Syria working with the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) for several years.
Prosecutors alleged that Fluke-Ekren–formerly a biology student at the University of Kansas – moved to Egypt in 2008 with her first husband who died, and later to Libya in 2011 to live with her second husband, who claimed to have stormed the U.S. Special Mission and CIA Annex complex on September 11, 2012. Fluke-Ekren admitted to helping review stolen documents with local militias, and later moved to Syria with her spouse, witnesses told prosecutors.
“Over 100 women and young girls, including as young as 10 or 11 years old, received military training from Fluke-Ekren in Syria on behalf of ISIS,” the DOJ said in a press release. The prosecutors added that Fluke-Ekren repeatedly expressed interest in conducting a terrorist attack in a US mall or college campus, and also learned how to make explosives.
Fluke-Ekren told witnesses that she considered any attack without mass casualties “to be a waste of resources,” the DOJ said in a statement. “Fluke-Ekren would hear about external attacks taking place in countries outside the United States and would comment that she wished the attack had occurred on U.S. soil instead,” according to the statement.
According to court documents, between 2015 and 2016 Fluke-Ekren moved from Syria to Iraq as she gained prominence within ISIS, after helping establish a center in Raqqa, Syria where she indoctrinated young women.
Prosecutors claimed in a statement that Fluke-Ekren was “providing training to numerous women and young girls on the use of automatic firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and explosive suicide belts.”
Witnesses told the DOJ that she then trained the Khatiba Nusayba battalion, made up of all-female fighters, and “provided certain members with instruction on physical training including martial arts, medical training, VBIED driving courses, ISIS religious classes, and how to pack and prep a “go bag” with rifles and other military supplies,” the DOJ said in their release.
In 2018, the DOJ alleged that Fluke-Ekren told another ISIS member to relay to her family that she had been killed abroad. According to court documents, in the summer of 2021, she separated herself from her fifth husband and smuggled herself out of Syria but was held in a local prison for several months.
By January 2022, US authorities located her and transferred her to US custody.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25, with a maximum 20-year prison sentence.