A former Kansas woman has been charged with joining ISIS and leading a women's battalion of fighters in Syria. The Department of Justice announced Saturday that a mother of five, Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, allegedly trained her children on the use of AK-47s and suicide belts.
According to DOJ, Allison had made plans to attack an American college campus. According to a criminal complaint filed in 2019 and unsealed Saturday, Allison was appointed as the leader of Khatiba Nusaybah, an all-female military unit of the Islamic State in Raqqa, Syria in 2016.
According to witnesses, in the capacity of the leader of the group, Allison is said to have trained more than 100 women to fire assault rifles, throw grenades, drive explosives-laden vehicles, and use suicide belts. The training was allegedly made mandatory for all women residents of Raqqa during the siege in 2017.
A witness also noted that local leaders of ISIS and members of the battalion were 'proud to have an American instructor,' who was exceptionally good at her work.
The woman planned to attack a college campus and a shopping mall in the US
FBI Special Agent David Robins noted in the criminal affidavit that Allison devised a plan to 'dress like infidels' and drop off an explosives-packed backpack at an unidentified US college to kill students. Robins also added that Allison told a witness that she knew how to get into the US from Mexico.
Another witness alleged that Allison also planned to attack a US shopping mall by stowing a car bomb in a basement parking garage and setting it off with a mobile trigger. US Attorney Jessica Aber wrote in a court affidavit that Allison considered any attack that did not end up killing a large number of US citizens, futile and 'waste of resources.'
According to authorities, Allison developed a blog to chronicle the 'adventures of the Fluke-Ekren family' in 2008, when she still lived in Lawrence, Kansas. She detailed her family's travels to Turkey and Egypt in the blog. She celebrated the birth of her youngest child on the blog in 2010. She permanently moved overseas by 2011 and got deeply involved in Islamic terrorism.
Prosecutors noted that Allison's first husband was killed in Syria while attempting to carry out a terrorist attack in 2016. She then married a Bangladeshi ISIS member, who also died. A while later, she got married to a prominent ISIS leader who led the group's unsuccessful 2017 defense of Raqqa.
'I never want to return to the US'
In 2018, she attempted to send a message to an American family member that she too, had died 'so the American government would not try to locate her,' Aber noted. Allison was heard saying 'she never wanted to return to the US and wanted to die as a martyr in Syria' by one of the witnesses, Aber alleged.
Allison is set to appear in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia on Monday. She will be charged with the crime of providing material support to a terrorist organization and could face a 20-year prison sentence if convicted.