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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Relaxing in a cafe: the British fighters waging war for ISIL

A 90-second video clip from 2014 shows four British fighters in Raqqa. Three have been killed in drone strikes, the fate of the fourth man is unknown

The masked British militant Mohammed Emwazi from a video released by ISIL. AFP
The masked British militant Mohammed Emwazi from a video released by ISIL. AFP

A covertly-taken video has captured four British militants relaxing in a café in Raqqa from where they are believed to have plotted attacks on the UK and the West.

The men included Mohammed Emwazi, the man known as Jihadi John, who featured in ISIL propaganda videos of beheadings of western hostages. He was killed in a US drone strike in Raqqa in 2015.

The footage showed the men lounging on sofas, charging their phones and discussing how they could transfer money to the area. The video appeared to demonstrate the apparent closeness of the British clique of militants.

The person who filmed the November 2014 footage, who has not been identified, said that the men discussed targeting European cities for attack. The café was largely off-limits to locals and was mainly used by UK and European fighters, according to the Daily Telegraph which obtained the footage.

The source said that many Britons had been killed in drone strike but “dozens and dozens” had headed to one of the few remaining ISIL strongholds at Deir Ezzor, the largest city in eastern Syria.

Junaid Hussain, 21, an ISIL hacker also killed in a drone strike in August 2015, and Reyaad Khan – who appeared in a recruitment video – also appeared in the clip. Khan was killed in a British drone attack.

The fourth man was identified as Raymond Matimba, an ISIL sniper, who had links with the Manchester Arena bomber Salman Abedi. Matimba is believed to have left Britain in 2014 to link up with terrorists in the region. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

His mother said that she did not know whether he was dead or alive, and last heard from him through a WhatsApp message in 2015.

“I have had no contact with him,” she told the newspaper. “I contacted the counter-terrorism authorities. I said I don’t want to talk to him any more. Eventually I changed my number.”

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