A former US schoolteacher who became a high-ranking ISIS official and organized an all-female military battalion, pleaded guilty Tuesday to supporting a foreign terrorist group, the Justice Department said.
Kansas-born Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, admitted to engaging in "terrorism-related activities" in Syria, Libya, and Iraq between 2011 and 2019.
"Fluke-Ekren ultimately served as the leader and organizer of an ISIS military battalion, known as the Khatiba Nusaybah, where she trained women on the use of automatic firing AK-47 assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts," the department said.
It is the first prosecution in the US of a female ISIS battalion leader, said First Assistant US Attorney Raj Parekh. More than 100 women and young girls received training. And some of the girls, who were as young as 10 or 11 years old, may wish to speak at Fluke-Ekren's sentencing hearing, Parekh said.
“Some of them may wish an opportunity to address the court because we would argue that there is lifelong trauma and pain that has been inflicted on them,” Parekh added.
Fluke-Ekren's husband was a member of the extremist Ansar al-Sharia group which attacked the US mission in Bebghazi, Libya in 2012, and then became a leader of an ISIS sniper group in Syria.
The department said the two were involved in extremist activities across the Middle East after they left the United States in 2011.
While in Syria, the department said, she spoke of desires to bomb a US shopping mall or university. she carried the nom de guerre Umm Mohammed al-Amriki.
In 2016-17 she became leader of the all-woman Khatiba Nusaybah battalion, which undertook physical, medical and weapons training to support ISIS.
Fluke-Ekren was apprehended in Syria sometime after the early-2019 territorial defeat of ISIS, and flown to the United States on January 28.
The court record indicates that her attorneys and the Justice Department spent months negotiating her guilty plea on a single count, supporting a foreign terrorist organization, a charge which brings up to 20 years in prison.
She is scheduled to be sentenced on October 25.