Jihadi from Coventry was first British recruit to be executed by Isil for spying

A 20-year-old Coventry jihadist has been revealed as the first British Isil recruit to be executed by the terror group for spying.

Mohammed Ismail went off the radar in Raqqa in late 2016, nearly two and a half years after he and two other Coventry recruits arrived in Syria.

His fate was revealed when senior members of the terror group’s security apparatus told the Sunday Times that he was executed for revealing the location of another Brit, high-profile Isil recruiter Nasser Muthana.

Fresh-faced Mr Ismail, a fighter dubbed Osama bin Bieber by the international press, had been wounded in battle and was working as an Isil police officer at the time.

According to Isil security sources cited, he confessed to revealing the movements of senior jihadists, including Mr Muthana, a prolific propagandist from Cardiff who appeared in Isil recruitment videos. The information ultimately ended up in the hands of Western intelligence agencies, Isil investigators believed.

Mr Muthana, who was known to be on the Pentagon’s list of priority targets and was sanctioned by the UN in 2015, was killed alongside an Australian jihadist in a precision strike in Mosul.

Mr Ismail’s execution was reportedly filmed as a warning to others.

The story of alleged betrayal and retribution draws a line under the lives of two British jihadists at a time that many more are coming out of the woodwork.

A common thread in the narratives emerging from the caliphate’s rubble is a sense of profound regret and a yearning for everyday British life – fish and chips, health care, pets and parenthood.

West London’s Hamza Parvez, a once-prolific online recruiter whose online presence was a mix of food snaps, cat memes and calls for jihad, washed up in a Syrian detention centre this week.

“Regret is not even the word. If there was a stronger word, I would use it,” he told the Washington Post.

But critics including experts on radicalisation and militant Islam point out that for former jihadis like Mr Parvez and former Bethnal Green schoolgirl Shamima Begum, it’s easy to profess regret from a losing position. Whether that regret is genuine will be far more difficult to establish.

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