One of the most frightening things about the ISIS regime is their seemingly utter and complete disregard for the sacredness of human life. The media has sensationalized the atrocious executions, slaughters, and beheadings of prominent captured individuals, causing the exact worldwide effect they are trying to induce: Terror. On what seems to be a weekly basis, we hear about videos of new beheadings uploaded online for the world to see. We observe with horror from afar, helpless in providing aid to their prisoners, some of whom were caught while defending the freedoms of Americans.
Most informed individuals are aware that this extremist group does not represent the worldwide Muslim population as a whole, yet ISIS strategically corrupts sacred Islamic holidays by using them as an excuse to commit the worst of atrocities. Less than a week ago, ISIS released a video of an execution to celebrate the arrival of the Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha. The sadistic executioners hung prisoners from literal meat hooks, and began butchering them like sheep.
These butcherers recognize no human or entity as holy. They stop at nothing to prove their point and send their message of extremism around the world, killing any men, women, and even children that defy their ideology. Behind the orchestrations of these gruesome acts are those with a plan. They know how to inflict pain, torture, and spread worldwide paranoia by virtue of these extreme acts. Yet, the vast majority of the world doesn't know exactly who these men are or how they have become some of the most notorious killers the world has ever witnessed. Check out our list of the most terrifying leaders, executioners, and militants originating from the self-proclaimed Islamic state and see the face behind this notorious terrorist group.
15 The Bulldozer
This ISIS extremist is suspected of being an Iranian national, believed by experts to have been one of the first executioners to begin filming his beheadings. He is featured in multiple videos and pictures, many of them displaying The Bulldozer yielding enormous swords or guns. Most of his victims are Kurdish soldiers and other opposition forces, although he has been known to execute and torture innocent children who have no involvement in the war whatsoever.
He is especially identifiable due to his enormous size, even more pronounced by the large blade he often uses to decapitate his victims. In a recent video entitled “Crush Your Enemies,” this executioner sliced off a victim’s head with his sword, and then proceeded to place the head on the corpse’s back. Back in October of 2015, a 14-year-old Syrian boy had his hand and foot amputated by this monster, simply because he refused to join ISIS.
14 Jihadi John
Otherwise known as Mohammed Emwazi, this ISIS extremist was born in Kuwait in 1988 and moved to the United Kingdom 6 years later. He graduated from both high school and college in the UK, and then went on to change his name and go completely off the map in 2013. It is during this time that experts believe he was radicalized and inducted into the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Between August of 2014 and February 2015, Jihadi John has been featured on multiple ISIS execution videos in which he is seen beheading numerous journalists, aid workers, and other hostages. He is most recognized for having beheaded US journalist, James Foley, in August of 2014. This was one of the first major videos uploaded to the Internet by the Islamic State that gained international attention. His weapon of choice is also a large knife, although he has been known to use guns and other torture methods as well.
13 Maxime Hauchard
Maxime converted himself to extremism when he was 17-years-old, moving from Normandy to Syria shortly after. In a video released in late 2014, this executioner beheaded American aid worker, Peter Kassig, in addition to 16 Syrian soldiers of the opposition force. He is rumored to have been involved in the takeover of Mosul, and many of his haunting social media account pictures depict him showcasing his enormous weapons and gun collection.
According to The Guardian, Hauchard has been known by French intelligence services since 2011. He has openly stated that his personal goal is martyrdom, and that he will stop at nothing to achieve his extremist mission. Unlike many other discreet jihadists and executioners, Hauchard does not care that his face shown in videos and broadcasted worldwide. Conscious of the implications of his actions, he takes pride in these horrific killings, all in the name of terror.
12 Michael Dos Santos
Another Frenchman turned ISIS extremist, Michael Dos Santos is a known terrifying member that has been captured in videos torturing and killing opposition forces. Originally from Champigny-sur-Marne (near Paris), he was recently recognized in a video depicting himself butchering eighteen Syrian soldiers.
Dos Santos has a Portuguese origin, and has been involved in some of the same videos as Jihadi John. He uses the name Abu Uthman for ISIS purposes, and is now approximately only 24-years-old. Federal prosecutors in Paris have since opened up criminal investigations into the cases of both Michael Dos Santos and Maxime Hauchard. Dos Santos is assumed to have traveled to Syria in early 2014, and prior to his move he had frequently posted jihadi slogans and propaganda on social media. It is during this time that experts predict that he was radicalized. He is also known to use large blades as his method of inflicting pain and torture on his victims.
11 Abu Muslim Al-Turkmani
Fadel Abdullah al-Hiyali, also known as Abu Muslim al-Turkmani was reportedly a former Iraqi officer that served under Saddam Hussein. He also had served time in a U.S.-run prison prior to taking his place as the ISIS “right-hand man” next to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It is understood that it was al-Turkmani’s role to serve as the deputy to Baghdadi, otherwise recognized as the “caliph” of ISIS. He was in charge of running the operations of Iraqi provinces, essentially functioning as the 2nd in command to the self-proclaimed Islamic state.
Al-Turkmani is from the northern Iraqi town known as Tal Afar, strategically located along a connective passageway to Syria. The majority of this town is comprised of ethnic Shiite and Sunni Turkmen. In late December 2014, U.S. officials confirmed that he was killed in anti-ISIS airstrikes aimed to target these high-up ISIS officials, proving to be a successful raid.
10 Abu Musa Al-Alwani
He was another ISIS leader who was targeted and killed in 2014 in an attack aimed to eliminate Baghdadi's council of 18 prominent ISIS leaders. He is understood to have been one of Saddam Hussein’s former officers, and has played a role in running the jihadi group’s military and intelligence operations in both Iraq and Syria. Serving close to al-Turkmani and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Al-Alwani played a key role in mobilizing forces to overthrow rule in Syrian cities and give orders to perform the atrocities and murders we see in the ISIS propaganda videos online today.
Fortunately for opposition forces vying to decentralize ISIS extremists, Al-Alwani was also one of the leaders killed in the raid back in 2014 that also eliminated other dangerous leaders like Turkmani. However, until the time of his death he was responsible for giving his blessing to destroy hundreds of homes, murder thousands of innocent victims, and reign terror in both Syria and Iraq.
9 Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
As the former leader of the ISIS forces, we know the most about this terrifying individual. Profiled in Time magazine on their Person of the Year 2015 short list, al-Baghdadi shaped former members and leaders of al-Qaeda into a prominent force who operated in facilitating the chaos in both Syria and Iraq. He is personally responsible for the murder of over 1,200 non-military civilians outside of Iraq and Syria in 2015 alone. He was most feared for his success in recruiting thousands of ISIS military fighters and inspiring hundreds of suicide bombers used for combat maneuvers and strategic targeting of both military and innocent civilian populations. He was born into a middle-class Sunni Muslim family in Iraq back in 1971, and adopted the name al-Baghdadi years later. Although rumors of his death caused by U.S.-led airstrikes surfaced in early 2015, the Pentagon still holds that the fate of al-Baghdadi is largely unknown.
8 Salim Benghalem
In early January of 2016, a Paris court convicted Benghalem of recruiting other ISIS forces, carrying out executions on behalf of the group, and involvement in illegal violent activity on French soil. It is understood by experts that he left for Syria in 2013, adding to the list of French nationalists that have turned into ISIS extremists. He is most prominently recognized for his involvement in the Paris attacks in 2015, and appeared in an ISIS propaganda video in which he praised the killers in France and urged others to take on similarly organized attacks on civilians. He has also been linked to the French national ISIS extremist, Medhi Nemmouche, who was found to have murdered 4 innocent civilians at a Jewish museum in Brussels in early 2014. He played a prominent role in jailing and torturing prisoners held by the ISIS regime, performing brutal atrocities to spread the message of terror across the world.
7 Abu Abdullah Al-Britani
What could be more terrifying than weapons put into the hands of children who are trained to carry out the atrocious acts of the ISIS regime? In a new shocking video released by ISIS in the middle of 2016, a row of young soldiers who barely looked like they were 13-years-old stood behind their prisoners. They were armed with firearms to carry out a mass execution. Among these children is a British-born kid known as Abu Abdullah Al-Britani, who is originally from Portsmouth, UK.
The other boys represented other nations from which they originated, including Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan. Before these children executed the prisoners who knelt before them, they recited a passage that states “prepare your coffins, dig your graves, and await a fate similar to these men.” This shows the ruthless recruitment and induction of peoples from all walks of life, stopping at nothing to reign terror through their propaganda videos.
6 Rachid Kassim
This ISIS killer is another French national who has been identified with his involvement in carrying out acts of terror in France, including the orchestration of packing a car full of explosives recently left close to the Notre Dame cathedral. Rachid Kassim has also appeared in multiple beheading videos, playing his part in personally slaughtering journalists, opposition forces, and otherwise innocent victims. As one of the key instigators of these terror attacks, he has condemned other jihadists for their lack of willingness to carry out similar attacks, directing hundreds of recruits through incepted messages transmitted over encrypted message applications. On June 14, 2016, his virtual fingerprints were found on a knife in the home of police officials in the Paris suburb of Magnanville. It was here that investigators found a video he had streamed on Facebook live which included a hit list of public figures, journalists, and politicians.
5 Alexanda Kotey
This member of the self-proclaimed Islamic state has been linked to the infamous group known as the "Beatles," comprised of Kotey, Jihadi John (Mohammed Emwazi), and Aine Davis. Kotey is a 32-year-old British national who grew up in West London and converted to Islam. He facilitated the detention and beheading of numerous hostages in Syria, including the execution of British aid workers, David Haines and Alan Henning.
He claims to be from Ghanaian and Greek-Cypriot descent, and befriended ISIS members, Jihadi John and Aine Davis, while attending the same mosque in London. He is most recognized for his involvement in beheading prominent US journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley. Not only is he responsible for personal acts of slaughter against American and other western hostages, but he is widely recognized by experts to be a key ISIS recruiter of other London-based ISIS extremists.
4 Aine Davis
As mentioned in Alexanda’s profile, Aine Davis is also recognized for his membership in the infamous execution group known as the "Beatles." As one of Jihadi John’s former right-hand men, he is also responsible for the beheading and execution of multiple western hostages in Syria. Originally from the London borough of Hammersmith, Davis was allegedly an ISIS guard at a prison housing foreign hostages in Syria. Having traveled to Syria in 2013 to participate in these extremists acts, he was formerly a drug dealer in the United Kingdom who went by the nickname "Biggz." Davis’s wife, Amal el-Wahabi, has also been linked to ISIS involvement, and was jailed for personally funding terrorism during her years as a university student. Davis was detained and arrested in Turkey last November on suspicion of planning attacks in Istanbul similar to those in Paris that targeted the Bataclan theater.
3 El Shafee Elsheikh
This 27-year-old Londoner is known to have traveled to Syria in 2012, during which time experts believe he was radicalized and inducted into ISIS extremism. Elsheikh is a British citizen whose family escaped Sudan in the 1990's, and is now recognized as the fourth jailer participants of the infamous ISIS group known as the "Beatles," alongside Jihadi John, Aine Davis, and Alexanda Kotey.
He is known to keep in touch with much of his London-based family (with the exception of his mother), who claim that he is still alive and residing in Syria. His father works as a translator in London, and recalls his son’s radicalization as happening at a “lightning-fast” and uncontrollable pace. Now living in Aleppo, Elsheikh has been depicted in videos using blades for beheading procedures, waterboarding, beating, and other mechanisms used to inflict torture and pain.
2 Abu Saleh
Most people are widely unaware that the success of the widespread terror ISIS has caused is attributed to their integrated technological sophistication and meticulously well-organized administration. Although Abu is not one of the executioners, jailers, or general enforcers, he is largely responsible for the financial ability of ISIS to perform such atrocities due to his former leadership as the finance minister of ISIS.
Although Abu and two other senior leaders of the self-proclaimed Islamic state were eliminated during airstrikes in Iraq in late 2015, he was formerly the director of ISIS finances and organized their profits that are mostly generated through the production of oil, taxes, and extortion in the areas they currently control. The U.S. coalition forces anticipate that the strategic elimination of these senior members who are responsible for the financial profits and distribution of the money of ISIS will destroy their internal financial infrastructure.
1 1. Haji Bakr
As a former intelligence officer for Saddam Hussein, Bakr is recognized as one of the masterminds behind ISIS’s plans to overrun Iraq. He is also responsible for the planned takeover of northern Syria, using specialized skills learned through his work for Hussein which include murder, kidnapping, and surveillance.
Between 2006 and 2008 Bakr was held in US detention prisons prior to becoming a highly influential founder of the self-proclaimed Islamic state. In 2012 Bakr traveled to Syria to mobilize foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and parts of Europe, as well as experienced and trained Chechen and Uzbek fighters.
A German magazine known as Der Spiegel published ISIS documents that contained 31 pages of schedules, charts, and pertinent information outlining the plans for the establishment of ISIS ruling in Syria, much of which is understood to have been authored by Bakr himself. He is self-described as a nationalist rather than an Islamist, and played a key role in the ISIS-administered intelligence operations.