The Guardian reports: Maxime Hauchard, the Frenchman identified by authorities as a jihadi involved in the beheadings of an American and Syrian captives, is a 22-year-old from Normandy who converted to Islam at 17.
Hauchard appeared in the Islamic State (Isis) video which on Sunday showed the killings of 18 Syrian captives and American aid worker Peter Kassig. In the video he is standing in a lineup of jihadis and is not masked. He was recognised by French writer and journalist David Thomson who tweeted a picture of him. Prosecutor François Molins confirmed his identity at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Hauchard is from Le Bosc-Roger-en-Roumois, which has a population of 3,250. He took on the nom de guerre Abu Abdallah el-Faransi, reflecting his French citizenship, and has never sought to conceal his affiliation with Islamist fighters, posting photos on social media of himself carrying weapons. In July he gave an interview to BFMTV in which he described how he became interested in Islam via the internet and how he travelled to Syria in August last year to help create a caliphate. [Continue reading…]