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‘America’s Shamima Begum’ tried to ransom own kids to her ex before joining ISIS

The American equivalent of Shamima Begum shamelessly tried to ransom her children to her ex-husband back in America.

Allison Fluke-Ekren, 42, moved to Turkey shortly after marrying her second husband Volkan Ekren in 2005, bringing along her eight-year-old son Gabriel and her seven-year-old daughter Alaina.

She was undergoing a bitter custody battle with the kids’ father and her ex-husband James Fluke, 47, at the time.

Her former sister-in-law, Amy Fluke, 49, told the Daily Mail that Allison began sending her ex-spouse emails and notes demanding more than $6,000 (£4,400) for the return of their two kids.

She said: “They were telling him he could have the kids back for a certain amount of money. Sometimes it was $5,000 or $6,000, and it started being more and more. I don't remember the highest amount.”

Amy added that her family wanted to bring her nephew and niece back to the US and refused to pay any ransom.

She explained: “We were trying to fight for the opportunity to get them back to the United States to have a custody hearing, and that's when we lost all contact with the children for about five or six years.”

The 42-year-old acted even more horrifically by faking her own death while living in Syria, and cruelly taunted James that their daughter Alaina was dead.

Relatives revealed Gabriel managed to escape back to the US when he was 17 and has made a quiet new life for himself, but Alaina's whereabouts remain unknown and she could still be in Syria.

James told the Daily Mail: “She kidnapped my kids for 10 years. She's manipulative. She always has been.

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“She's always wanted the spotlight. There is no way to adequately describe how manipulative she is.”

In 2008 Allison left Turkey and moved to Egypt with her new husband and taught children there.

She travelled frequently between Egypt and the US for the next three years and is believed to have moved to Syria around 2012.

According to prosecutors, Volkan Ekren was killed in the Syrian city of Tell Abyad while trying to carry out a terrorist attack in early 2016.

The alleged terrorist mum then went on to marry a Bangladeshi ISIS member who specialised in drones, but he died in late 2016 or early 2017.

Four months after that man's death, she again remarried a prominent Islamic State leader who was responsible for the defence of the Syrian city of Raqqa.

Amy also revealed that Allison faked her death in 2018 by making it seem she had been killed in an airstrike in Syria and taunted her ex over Alaina's fate.

Prosecutors say Allison wanted to recruit operatives to attack a university campus in the US and discussed the idea of attacking a shopping centre by remotely detonating a car full of explosives in the car park.

She told one witness that “she considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources,” according to an FBI affidavit.

The same witness said that when Allison would hear about terrorist attacks taking place in countries outside the US, she would comment that she wished the attack occurred on American soil instead.

The affidavit also alleges she became leader of an IS unit called Khatiba Nusaybah in Raqqa in late 2016.

The all-female unit comprised of the wives of male ISIS fighters who were trained in the use of AK-47 rifles, grenades and suicide belts.

The members of Khatiba Nusaybah were allegedly instructed on physical training, medical training, vehicle improvised explosive device driving courses, religious classes and how to pack and prepare a “go bag” with military supplies.

According to eyewitness accounts, some of these classes were taught by Allison herself.

She is charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organisation and faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

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