Virginia Man Fighting for ISIS Captured in Iraq

A Virginia man fighting for ISIS was captured by Kurdish fighters inside Iraq.

March 14, 2016, 9:00 AM

— -- The Kurdish Peshmerga captured an ISIS fighter from Alexandria, Virginia, in northern Iraq Monday, according to a senior U.S. official.

The man was initially identified by Kurdish media as Muhammad Jamal Amin, but a driver’s license that purportedly belongs to him uses a different spelling for Mohammad and the last name Khweis. A local commander told a Kurdish media outlet that the fighter walked into a Peshmerga-controlled area near Sinjar, Iraq.

In a video posted by a Kurdish fighter he tells his captors he is American. According to Peshmerga officials, Khweis claims in that conversation to have a Palestinian-born father and an Iraqi mother. The driver's license seized during his detention shows he is from Alexandria, Virginia, but the State Department has not confirmed that he is a American citizen.

A State Department official told ABC News that Washington is aware of reports that a U.S. citizen has been captured by Peshmerga forces. "We are in touch with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities to determine the veracity of these reports," the official said. "We have no further information to share at this time.”

Reached by telephone, a woman who identified herself as the mother of Mohamad Jamal Khweis told ABC News she had seen the news reports but later declined to watch the video. She said she had last seen her son a couple months ago and said she was shocked by the idea he was in Iraq.

With television cameras outside the home, two men, apparently Khweis’ father and younger brother, arrived and the older man struck some of the cameras. Both yelled at the media present, the younger man shouting, “You’re wrong, you’re wrong.” At one point the father sprayed the cameramen with a water hose shortly before police arrived.

“This has nothing to do with you guys,” the older man said a few minutes later, addressing reporters outside. “I ask you to leave please, and I have not any information… I don’t know what you guys bring this information, okay? And I guess you bringing the wrong information. This is not the right name for my son… This is wrong, this is not my son, the information you’ve given me, I don’t know where my real son is at.”

Kurdish forces are fighting ISIS with the American-led coalition and control much of the northern borders with Turkey, which serves as a passage way for extremist fighters into the region.

ABC News' Rym Momtaz and Becky Perlow contributed to this report.

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