The American, who, according to prosecutors, led a purely female battalion of Islamic state militants in Syria, confessed on Tuesday in a case that the prosecutor described as the first of its kind in the United States.
Allison Fluke-Ekren burst into tears after she confessed to a conspiracy to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
The plea addresses a criminal case that came to light in January after Fluke-Ekren, 42, who once lived in Kansas, was brought to the United States to face charges of leading a female unit and young girls from the Islamic State in Syria. the city. from Rakka and trained them in the use of automatic rifles, grenades and suicide belts.
This is the first prosecution of the commander of the Islamic State Battalion in the United States, said First Assistant Attorney Raj Parekh, who told the judge that some of the more than 100 women and girls who had been trained might want to perform in Fluke. -Ekren’s verdict. audience.
“Some of them might want to have the opportunity to go to court because we would say they have suffered lifelong trauma and pain,” Parekh said.
The allegations in the case follow Fluke-Ekren’s travels and activities in the Middle East over the past decade, although they do not shed light on what inspired his alleged allegiance to foreign activist groups.
She has been in Syria since late 2012 or early 2013, where, according to a witness quoted in court documents, she spoke openly about her desire to carry out an attack in the United States, including parking a car loaded with explosives in a garage. shopping center in the underground. shopping center. Another witness said Fluke-Ekren spoke of a desire to bomb the university campus.
Prosecutors say that after Fluke-Ekren’s second husband, identified in court documents as a member of the Ansar al-Sharia militant group, killed in a raid in Syria in February 2016, she ran a center that offered medical services and childcare – – but also advanced weapons training – dozens of women and girls.
His purely female battalion, known as Khatiba Nusaybah, began operations in 2017 to teach members of the Islamic State how to defend themselves against the group’s enemies, prosecutors say.
According to court documents, she continued her affiliation with the Islamic State until the spring of 2019, when she was secretly expelled from ISIS territory. Fluke-Ekren said she tried to go to the local police station last summer because she wanted to leave Syria, and after about two weeks she was arrested at her house and then imprisoned.
The criminal complaint against Fluke-Ekren was filed under the seal in the United States in 2019, but was not released until she was brought to Virginia in January to face charges.
Fluke-Ekren, who told the court she had a master’s degree in teaching in the United States, moved with her second husband to Egypt in 2008 and lived in Benghazi, Libya, in the fall of 2012, when an attack on US government resulted in the deaths of four Americans. . Fluke-Ekren allegedly played no role in the attack, but prosecutors say she helped her second husband investigate and summarize documents she says were stolen from the U.S. campus.
Fluke-Ekren pleaded guilty to most of the government’s allegations against her, although at one point she indicated that one of the witnesses on the court documents was young at the time they spoke and may have had a different understanding of their conversations. She also indicated that she did not intentionally train young girls.