Glasgow jihadist Aqsa Mahmood on UN sanction list

Aqsa Mahmood. Picture from her Facebook page.
Aqsa Mahmood. Picture from her Facebook page.
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A GLASGOW woman is among four British jihadis to have been hit with international sanctions in a bid by the Government to stem the flow of home-grown Islamic State recruits.

Aqsa Mahmood, 21, who travelled to Syria from Glasgow in November 2013 to join Islamic State (IS), also known as ISIL, appears on the list along with Omar Hussain from High Wycombe, Nasser Muthana from Cardiff, and Sally-Anne Jones from Kent.

It is the first time the UK has submitted the names of the worst offenders among the around 700 thought to have travelled out to the region to join the Islamist extremists.

Some are believed to be holed-up in the extremist-held Syrian city of Raqqa - where two militants were killed in an RAF drone strike in August.

Mahmood is thought to be a key figure in the al-Khanssaa brigade, a female brigade in Raqqa which was established by IS to enforce Sharia law. She has used social media to recruit and support IS.

Jones travelled to Syria in 2013 with her husband Junaid Hussain who was killed in a US air strike in August. She uses social media to recruit women to join IS.

Hussain, who is also known as Abu-Said al-Britani, travelled to Syria last year and also uses social media to recruit others to join IS.

Muthana joined IS in Syria in 2013 and has appeared in propaganda and recruitment videos. He has also threatened the UK in social media posts.

Approval by a UN committee means the group are subject to a global asset freeze and travel ban, but the move is also designed as a deterrent to dissuade would-be fighters.

One of five names submitted by the UK to the sanctions committee is still to be approved.

More are expected to be put forward.

The move was revealed as Mr Cameron prepared to unveil a new £10 million UK-run counter-propaganda drive to blunt the effective use of social media by IS to spread its message.

He will set out the plans at a meeting in New York of allies in the fight against the extremist threat, which will involve US President Barack Obama and other key leaders.

IS, which is also known as ISIL, has proved deft at exploiting online channels using slick videos to spread its message.

The fightback will be carried out partly from a new unit set up jointly by the US in Abu Dhabi.

A No10 spokeswoman said: “The Prime Minister has been absolutely clear that we will do all we can to stop British citizens from going to fight for ISIL and that foreign fighters should face consequences for their actions.

“As well as the domestic measures we have introduced, such as the power to seize passports, these sanctions are a powerful tool - freezing an individual’s assets and imposing a global travel ban on them.

“It also sends a clear deterrent message to those thinking of going to fight for ISIL. We will continue to consider whether more individuals should be subjected to these sanctions.”

Three British nationals were already among the 231 individuals and 72 organisations on the UN list.