A former Kansas teacher led an all-female ISIS battalion and planned a terrorist attack on a US college, prosecutors say

A former Kansas teacher led an all-female ISIS battalion and planned a terrorist attack on a US college, prosecutors say
The US Courthouse in Alexandria, Virginia.Cliff Owen/AP
  • Allison Elizabeth Fluke-Ekren, 42, has been charged with providing support to ISIS.
  • The former Kansas teacher made her first appearance in federal court on Monday.

An American former teacher from Kansas is set to appear in federal court on Monday after being accused of fighting for the Islamic State.

A former Kansas teacher led an all-female ISIS battalion and planned a terrorist attack on a US college, prosecutors say
Allison Fluke-Ekren is seen in an undated photo.Alexandria Sheriff's Office via AP
Allison Elizabeth Fluke-Ekren, 42, is charged with providing and conspiring to provide material support or resources to a designated foreign terrorist organization. She faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Fluke-Ekren was previously apprehended in Syria and transferred into FBI custody on Friday, a press release from the Department of Justice said. She was brought to the Eastern District of Virginia, where she had her first court appearance on Monday.

During the court appearance, Fluke-Ekren said she understood the charges against her and told the court that she doesn't remember having any assets in the US, according to Vice News reporter Ben Makuch. According to Makuch, prosecutors said that her family had requested she not contact them, and Fluke-Ekren said she would comply with the request. A detention/bond hearing will take place on Thursday.

An indictment said Fluke-Ekren left the US "several years ago" and became involved with ISIS at least as early as 2014.

Fluke-Ekren is a US citizen, from Kansas originally, and last worked in the US as a teacher, the indictment said.


The indictment included information on Fluke-Ekren gleaned from interviews with six cooperating witnesses who said they knew her in Syria.

In their testimonies, the witnesses said Fluke-Ekren originally moved to Syria with her former husband, whom she met in the US, and who went on to become ISIS' sniper leader. The couple brought $15,000 with them when they moved to Syria, one witness said. After her husband died in an airstrike, Fluke-Ekren went on to marry at least two other ISIS members, the indictment said.

Fluke-Ekren rose within the ranks of ISIS herself, and she was eventually assigned to lead an all-female battalion made up of the wives of ISIS fighters to defend the city of Raqqa.

Witnesses said Fluke-Ekren trained women and children on how to use assault rifles, grenades, and suicide belts.

Fluke-Ekren is also said to have plotted terrorist attacks against the US.


One witness said Fluke-Ekren got approval to spearhead the bombing of a US college, but the plan was eventually put on hold when Fluke-Ekren got pregnant.

The witness told officials the plan was to reenter the US from Mexico, then "dress like infidels (non-believers) and drop off a backpack made of explosives," the indictment said.

"Fluke-Ekren stated that she was seeking vengeance, having come up with the plan after a market area was bombed by airstrikes near al-Bab and innocent children had died as a result for which Fluke-Ekren believed Americans were responsible," the indictment said.

A relative of Fluke-Ekren's in Syria also said that Fluke-Ekren boasted about the best ways to conduct a terrorist attack on a US shopping mall.

"Fluke-Ekren explained that she could go to a shopping mall in the United States, park a vehicle full of explosives in the basement or parking garage level of the structure, and detonate the explosives in the vehicle with a cell phone triggering device," the indictment said.


The relative went on to say that Fluke-Ekren did not pursue such an attack because her former husband objected. But Fluke-Ekren "fantasized about conducting other attacks" and "believed a location was a good target if it contained large amounts of congregated people," the indictment said.

"Fluke-Ekren stated that she considered any attack that did not kill a large number of individuals to be a waste of resources," the relative said.

The relative added that Fluke-Ekren didn't like "America or Americans," and that she would complain every time there was a terrorist attack in another country, saying she wished it had "occurred on United States soil instead."