Federal charges were unsealed Saturday against a former Kansas resident who prosecutors say traveled to Syria to join ISIS, led an all-female battalion of Islamic State fighters and plotted terrorist attacks in the U.S.
42-year-old Allison Elizabeth Fluke-Ekren, was originally charged in a 2019 complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. She was charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization, ISIS.
At the time the charges were brought in May 2019, Fluke-Ekren had not yet been apprehended. She ultimately was captured in Syria and was handed over to FBI agents on Friday, Jan. 28. Her charges were unsealed on Saturday along with a memo supporting her continued pre-trial detention.
Fluke-Ekren’s alleged support for ISIS included organizing, training and leading an all-female battalion, known as the Khatiba Nusaybah. Fluke-Ekren allegedly trained the group’s fighters in the use of automatic AK-style rifles, grenades, and suicide belts. She also allegedly provided lodging, translated speeches and taught ISIS doctrine to prospective ISIS fighters.
According to the criminal complaint, Fluke-Ekren — who also went by the names Allison Elizabeth Brooks, Allison Ekren, Umm Mohammed al-Amriki, Umm Mohammed, and Umm Jabril — left the U.S. in 2008 and spent the ensuing years living in Egypt, Libya and then Syria and Iraq.
In around 2012, Fluke-Ekren allegedly moved from Libya to Syria to follow the Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia. She had allegedly wanted to join in violent Jihad with the terrorist group and chose to move from Libya to Syria after she learned the group had discontinued operations in Libya. Ekren is alleged to have gone on to Mosul, Iraq, when it was controlled by ISIS.
Six eye-witnesses provided testimony against Fluke-Ekren.
One witness said she and her then-husband brought about $15,000 with them to Syria, which they then used to purchase, handguns, automatic-firing rifles, hand grenades and other military-grade weapons.
That same witness also alleges Fluke-Ekren discussed entering the U.S. from Mexico and delivering backpacks full of explosives to a U.S. college. That plan had even been passed along to former ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who approved funding for the plot. That plan allegedly was placed on hold after Fluke-Ekren discovered she was pregnant.
Another witness said Fluke-Ekren detailed a second plan to park a vehicle full of explosives at a shopping mall in the U.S. She ultimately decided against that second attack plan because her now-deceased husband had objected. Still, the witness said Fluke-Ekren spent time fantasizing about other attacks she could carry out.
Other witnesses corroborated that Fluke-Ekren went by the names Umm Mohammed al-Amriki, Umm Mohammed, and Umm Jabril.
In addition to the six eye-witnesses who provided testimony, investigators also recovered documents from a battlefield in Syria in 2018. Those documents included hand-written notes and exams with the name Umm Mohammed al-Amriki written on them. Investigators found the handwriting to be consistent with handwriting samples for Fluke-Ekren, provided by her family in the U.S.
With the charges, Fluke-Ekren faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison if she’s convicted.
The Department of Justice said she is scheduled to make her initial court appearance on Monday.