American woman arrested, allegedly trained women of ISIS

She is charged with providing support to the terrorist organization.

January 31, 2022, 9:04 AM

A Kansas woman was charged with providing material support to ISIS, according to charges unsealed by the Justice Department on Friday night.

On six separate occasions between 2014 and 2017, authorities say Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, allegedly expressed interest in carrying out terrorist attacks in the United States in support of ISIS, the foreign terrorist organization that's based in Iraq, Syria and other locations in Africa and the Middle East.

Fluke-Ekren moved to Syria in 2012 and married a "prominent" ISIS leader, court documents said. She can reportedly speak four languages, and the documents alleged she rose up the ranks to command her own battalion.

"Fluke-Ekren's main objective in this role was to teach the women of ISIS how to defend themselves against ISIS' enemies," the complaint stated.

"There are American citizens who want to do damage to our country and whether they're here inside the country, trying to commit attacks or outside of the country," Tony Mattivi, the former DOJ National Security Coordinator for the District of Kansas said.

PHOTO: This undated photo provided by the Alexandria, Va., Sheriff's Office in January 2022 shows Allison Fluke-Ekren.
This undated photo provided by the Alexandria, Va., Sheriff's Office in January 2022 shows Allison Fluke-Ekren. Fluke-Ekren, 42, who once lived in Kansas, has been arrested after federal prosecutors charged her with joining the Islamic State group and leading an all-female battalion of AK-47 wielding militants.
Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP

She also allegedly housed, translated for and trained women to fire automatic weapons, the Justice Department said.

"Recent charges brought against Allison Fluke-Ekren demonstrate the appeal ISIS had to a broad section of foreign extremists around the world, including women and those from the United States," said Javed Ali, former senior counterterrorism director at the National Security Council and a professor at the University of Michigan's Ford School of Public Policy.

"Despite their similar jihadist outlooks, unlike al Qaida, ISIS held little to no prohibitions for more operational roles for women in the group, and there were many other women who performed similar functions in ISIS like Fluke-Ekren," Ali told ABC News.

Among the attacks she was interested in carrying out were ideas to bomb a mall and a college in the U.S.

"To conduct the attack, Fluke-Ekren explained that she could go to a shopping mall in the United States, park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement or parking garage level of the structure, and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cellphone triggering device, " she allegedly told a witness, according to court documents.

PHOTO: The U.S. Courthouse is seen in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 2, 2021.
The U.S. Courthouse is seen in Alexandria, Va., Sept. 2, 2021.
Cliff Owen/AP, FILE

Fluke-Ekren also allegedly once presented an FBI informant with a plan "targeting a U.S.-based college." She "stated that they would dress like infidels and drop off a backpack with explosives," court documents said.

She also "fantasized" about committing an attack where there was a large amount of people, the documents stated.

"Fluke-Ekren considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources," they said.

The documents against Fluke-Ekren were filed in 2019.

She was arrested in Syria and is expected to make her first federal court appearance in Alexandria, Virginia, on Monday, when she will be appointed an attorney.

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