A US man from Virginia has been arrested in northern Iraq on Monday for fighting for the ISIS. It is, however, not clear whether he was captured by or surrendered to the Kurdish authorities. The man has been identified by a relative as Mohammad Jamal Khweis, 26, hailing from Alexandria, Virginia.
That’s him. I cannot believe it,” the NBC News quoted Kamal Khweis, the uncle of the detainee, as saying after seeing the photos and the video of the man. “He doesn’t even speak Arabic. ISIS? I cannot believe this.”
The uncle said that his nephew told the family that he was leaving for Europe for a vacation and when they last heard from him, he said he was in Greece. “They don’t know anything about him going to the Middle East.”
He was initially identified as Muhammad Jamal Amin by the Kurdish media but a driving license later found, which apparently belonged to him, spelled the name as Mohammad and the last name as Khweis. A Kurdish media reported that, according to a local commander, Mohammad walked into an area near Sinjar, Iraq, controlled by Peshmerga.
In the video that was published by a Kurdish fighter, the man was telling his captors that he is an American and was born to a Palestinian father and Iraqi mother. The driver’s license seized from him showed he is from Alexandria, Virginia. However, the US State Department has not yet confirmed that he is an American.
An official of the State Department said that it is aware that a US citizen was captured in northern Iraq by Peshmerga forces. “We are in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports,” the ABC News quoted the official as saying. “We have no further information to share at this time.”
The ABC News reported that it received a call from a woman who claimed to be the mother of Jamal Khweis and that she saw the news reports. But, she declined to have watched the video later. She said that she last met her son a couple of months ago and that she is shocked by the news.