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Jihadi John

British authorities released the identity of one of the world's most wanted men, Jihadi John.

Officials have known his identity for several months, but investigators kept it secret as they tried to track him down. That manhunt is ongoing.

Jihadi John is Mohammed Emwazi, a 26-year-old college-educated man with a distinct London accent who grew up in a mixed income, West London neighborhood.

His friends are reportedly shocked.

"The Mohammed that I knew was extremely kind, extremely gentle," said Asim Qureshi, research director with the London-based Muslim lobbying group CAGE, which assists Muslims hasseled by British security services.

The authorities discovered Emwazi's identity shortly after the beheading of American James Wright Foley in August.

"To me it's just tragic that he would -- such a talented young man -- would lose his way and become part of such a brutal network as ISIS," the victim's mother, Diane Foley, said.

British security firms have been tracking Emwazi for several years. He left for Syria three years ago, though how he fell off the radar and ended up joining ISIS remains a mystery.

Authorities believe Emwazi has appeared in several beheading executions, including American Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines, British taxi driver Alan Henning, and American aid worker Peter Kassig, who reportedly converted to Islam during captivity, taking the name Abdul-Rahman, Fox News reported.

Emwazi also appeared in the videotaped killings of Kenji Goto and Haruna Yukawa, two Japanese men captured by the Islamist group.

In one sequence, Jihadi John promised, "Our knife will continue to strike the necks of your people."

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