American woman pleads guilty to leading all-female Islamic State battalion
Kansas native Allison Fluke-Ekren pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to provide support to a foreign terrorist organization after heading an ISIS military battalion made up of more than 100 girls and women.
The battalion, called the Khatiba Nusaybah, is accused of perpetrating multiple terrorist acts in Syria after being launched by Fluke-Ekren with the intention of providing women with terrorist training and Islamic religious classes.
Officials say girls as young as 10 were involved with the battalion, where they were given weapons such as AK-47 assault rifles, grenades and explosive suicide belts.
The Khatiba Nusaybah was formed out of a women’s center in Raqqa, Syria, allegedly established by Fluke-Ekren in 2016.
The center offered medical services and child care along with religious classes and terrorist training before the battalion officially arose in 2019 as an all-female arm of the Islamic State.
Witnesses testified that, before the creation of the Khatiba Nusaybah, Fluke-Ekren shared plans to attack a shopping mall and a college campus in the U.S.
Fluke-Ekren allegedly told a witness in 2014 that she planned to park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement of a U.S. mall. She discussed plans with another associate to bomb a college campus in the Midwest.
Fluke-Ekren expressed regret that attacks occurring across the world were not taking place in the U.S. and said that she “considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources.” She also shared that she considered it important to die as a martyr for ISIS and massacre non-Muslims.
A now-deceased member of terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia married Fluke-Ekren in the U.S. before her involvement with ISIS, and the couple moved to Egypt in 2008 to begin years of terrorist activity in the Middle East, including in Syria, Libya and Iraq, authorities say.
Fluke-Ekren allegedly aided her husband in reviewing stolen U.S. government documents and a stolen electronic device in Benghazi, Libya, in 2011, after which Fluke-Ekren’s summaries were shared with the Ansar al-Sharia leadership.
After moving to Syria, Fluke-Ekren’s husband became the leader of ISIS snipers in the country, while Fluke-Ekren trained girls and women in terrorist activity.
An initial complaint against Fluke-Ekren was filed to the U.S. government confidentially in 2019 and has been backed by information given by six witnesses, some of whom have been charged with terrorist offenses.
First Assistant U.S. Attorney Raj Parekh claimed in January that Fluke-Ekren trained her children in using assault rifles and that one was witnessed carrying a machine gun at 5 or 6 years old.
“Fluke-Ekren has been a fervent believer in the radical terrorist ideology of ISIS for many years, having traveled to Syria to commit or support violent jihad. Fluke-Ekren translated her extremist beliefs into action by serving as the appointed leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion, directly training women and children in the use of AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts to support the Islamic State’s murderous aims,” Parekh wrote at the time.