'Jihadi John' killer from Islamic State beheading videos named by media

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'Jihadi John' killer from Islamic State beheading videos named by media
The Washington Post and BBC are both reporting the identity of Jihadi John, arguably the world's most wanted man, is a Londoner named Mohammed Emwazi.
UPDATE: #JihadiJohn is West London computing graduate http://t.co/TH6ZPpl1b3 http://t.co/kTMsKJbReK
The identity of Jihadi John has been known to intelligence services since last summer: http://t.co/6puEOxZwHS http://t.co/MusulUPq8g
Jihadi John identified: Everything we know about Mohammed Emwazi so far http://t.co/GLkIJAMN9o http://t.co/Q87QV9rnNJ
Jihadi John is identified as former university student from respectable London family http://t.co/bShmmFfZHr http://t.co/UonzOXWmky
Watch: Who is Jihadi John? Our 60 second explainer: http://t.co/c4EW8WmWfi http://t.co/cro1x1FIFe
Japan is struggling to contact ISIS extremists who are holding two hostages. The ISIS extremists are holding the hostages ahead of a deadline for their execution.
The murder of a Japanese hostage by IS has been condemned internationally as a despicable act of terror. The one minute video of Kenji Goto's death emerged online last night and today officials have confirmed they believe it is genuine. Sky's Mark Stone reports.
People walk past a big screen reporting that a Japanese hostage was killed by the Islamic State in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Japan said it was 'outraged' after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
The mother of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto is grieving her son's apparent beheading by Islamic State.
Junko Ishido (R) mother of Kenji Goto, speaks to reporters while her husband Yukio Ishido (L) stands beside her at their home in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Japan said it was 'outraged' after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido (C) mother of Kenji Goto, speaks to reporters while her husband Yukio Ishido (L) stands beside her at their home in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Japan said it was 'outraged' after the Islamic State group released a video purportedly showing the beheading of Japanese hostage Kenji Goto. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
AMMAN, JORDAN - JANUARY 17: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (L) and his wife Akie arrive at the Alia International Airport for an official visit in Amman, Jordan on January 17, 2015. (Photo by Shadi Nsoor/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese men being held by Islamist militants, gestures as she answers questions during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on January 23, 2015. Ishido pleaded for her son's release and urged Tokyo to pay a 200 million USD ransom hours before a deadline expires. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese men being held by Islamist militants, answers questions during a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on January 23, 2015. Ishido pleaded for her son's release and urged Tokyo to pay a 200 million USD ransom hours before a deadline expires. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, mother of Kenji Goto, one of two Japanese men being held by Islamist militants, is surrounded by photographers at the beginning of a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan in Tokyo on January 23, 2015. Ishido pleaded for her son's release and urged Tokyo to pay a 200 million USD ransom hours before a deadline expires. AFP PHOTO / Toru YAMANAKA (Photo credit should read TORU YAMANAKA/AFP/Getty Images)
Junko Ishido, the mother of one of two Japanese hostages held by Islamic State, pleads for help in Tokyo. She speaks at a news conference to appeal for journalist Kenji Goto's release. (Video: AP)
The Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has demanded that ISIS release the two Japanese citizens they are holding hostage and has pledged to put people's lives as a top priority.
TOKYO, JAPAN - JANUARY 22: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Islamic law scholar and former Doshisha University professor Ko Nakata speaks during a press conference at teh Foreign Correspondents' Club on January 22, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. Nakata claimed he has got connections with the militant group, and able to intermediate the negotiation on the release of the 47-year-old freelance journalist Kenji Goto and 42-year-old Haruna Yukawa, the founder of a private security company. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
#ISIS threatens to execute two #Japanese hostages unless ransom of $200 million is paid within 72 hours. http://t.co/Z8egkDNYNG
ALEPPO, SYRIA - JANUARY 20: In this file photo, dated as April 25, 2014, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto Jogo, captured by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) and one of two Japanese hostages, is seen in Aleppo, Syria. (Photo by Ahmed Muhammed Ali/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Isis demand $200m to spare two Japanese hostages in chilling new video http://t.co/CxKrYhijQH http://t.co/C132cl6vlh
Something about #ISIS video of 2 Japanese hostages. Note the shadows in different angles & differing colour contrast http://t.co/FmSDVH31zI
Purported ISIS video threatens beheading of Japanese hostages in lieu of $200M ransom: http://t.co/MVByEWPz6h http://t.co/qt0BTJGOZh
Full statement by #ISIS in latest video. Asking for 200 million dollars in 72 hours or 2 Japanese hostages killed. http://t.co/f6uf4LXz0O
The two Japanese #ISIS hostages are believed to be freelance journalist Kenji Goto (L) and Haruna Yukawa (R). http://t.co/Bmqssfnt8W
Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa was captured by #ISIS in summer last year via @ArtWendeley http://t.co/sa9Iq15JSH
Vice-Foreign Minister Yasuhide Nakayama to be sent to Jordan to help coordinate ISIS hostage response.
#Japan’s government vows not to back down after #ISIS threatens to kill Japanese hostages - http://t.co/WtKhvzDIPc http://t.co/SaEUbbKlpz
ISIS militants' death threat stirs anger, shock in #Japan http://t.co/7pb2nQBRsn http://t.co/6WCsPHKEwy
People stage a silent rally for Japanese hostage Kenji Goto called 'Kenji, You will be alive in our memories' near the prime minister's official residence in Tokyo on February 1, 2015. Some 200 people gathered the rally. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 1 denounced as 'heinous and despicable' the apparent beheading of a second Japanese hostage by the Islamic State group, as global leaders spoke out to condemn the militants. AFP PHOTO / KAZUHIRO NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Reuters) - The "Jihadi John" killer who has featured in several Islamic State beheading videos is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a middle class family who grew up in London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming, the Washington Post newspaper said.

In videos released by Islamic State (IS), the masked, black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent appears to have carried out the beheadings of hostages including Americans and Britons.

The Washington Post said Emwazi was believed to have traveled to Syria around 2012 and to have later joined IS.

"His real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming," the Post said.

In each beheading video, he is dressed entirely in black, a balaclava covering all but his eyes and the ridge of his nose. He wears a holster under his left arm.

Hostages gave him the name John as he and other Britons had been nicknamed the Beatles, another was dubbed George.

The paper said he had been born in Kuwait, was raised in a middle-class neighborhood in London and occasionally prayed at a mosque in Greenwich, southeast London.

Police declined to comment on the reports.

"We are not going to confirm the identity of anyone at this stage or give an update on the progress of this live counter- terrorism investigation," said Commander Richard Walton of the Metropolitan Police's Counter Terrorism Command in a statement.

The Post quoted friends of Emwazi, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying they thought he had started to become radicalized after a planned safari in Tanzania following his graduation from the University of Westminster in London.

They said Emwazi and two friends - a German convert to Islam named Omar and another man, Abu Talib - never made it to the safari. On landing in Dar es Salaam, in May 2009, they were detained by police and held overnight before eventually being deported, they said.

No comment was immediately available from the University of Westminster.

The Post said counter terrorism officials in Britain detained Emwazi in 2010, fingerprinting him and searching his belongings.

(Reporting by Stephen Addison; editing by Guy Faulconbridge)

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