A British suicide bomber responsible for an attack in Iraq is the nephew of a prominent former councillor and had travelled to the war-torn country with his wife, it can now be revealed.
Mohammed Rizwan Awan is believed to have killed more than 30 people when he detonated a bomb in Anbar province, west of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad in March 2016.
Islamic State media claimed a British man calling himself Abu Musa al Britani was killed driving a car bomb into a convoy of army vehicles in March 2016. The BBC revealed that this was Mohammed Rizwan Awan from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire. Awan who had survived multiple stab wounds in an unprovoked knife attack in his teens – left his job handling customer calls for British Gas in their Leeds office in 2015, telling relatives he was going on pilgrimage with his wife.
The Islamic State fighter who was known by the name Abu Musa al-Britani, was shown smiling while holding an AK47 in Isis propaganda material.
Awan, 26 had left Britain with his wife, Sophie, around July last year. The newlywed couple from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire had told their respective families that they were planning to carry out umrah – a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Awan, is the latest suicide bomber to have come from West Yorkshire. In 2015, Talha Asmal, 17, from Dewsbury, was one of four suicide bombers who carried out attacks near an oil refinery south of Baiji in Iraq.
In 2008 when Awan was just 18, he was attacked with a machete after being caught up in gang warfare. At the time his family said he was an innocent victim. According to a report in the Huddersfield Examiner, Awan was put on life support in hospital after his face was slashed nine times.