'The Giant': Second British extremist 'identified in Isis video'

Masked man nicknamed the ‘Giant’ is believed to be among the five executioners

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The Independent Online

A second British Islamic extremist known as the ‘Giant’ is thought to be among a team of executioners who shot dead five “spies” in Syria. 

Mohammed Reza Haque, 35, is believed to have appeared in an Isis video alongside four other members of the jihadist group. One has already been identified as Briton Siddhartha Dhar, who is said to be the leader of the group behind the execution.

Wearing a mask so only his eyes are visible, Haque is thought to be the towering figure on Dhar’s left. 

Isis released the video in early January as a warning to David Cameron against Britain’s involvement in military action in Syria. The five men, accused by Isis of being British spies, are wearing Guantanamo Bay-style orange tracksuits and kneeling in front of their killers. In the three-minute video, the militants put pistols to the back of each man’s head. The video then cuts away. It has been reported that all five men were killed. 

Officials have suggested that the killings were a “loyalty test” for the group, while an unnamed source told The Mail On Sunday that pressure on Isis is intensifying, with paranoia causing conflict between factions.

The Home Office had not responded to The Independent’s request for comment about the allegations that Haque was involved in the shootings. 

Haque left London two years ago, having worked as a bodyguard for a notorious hate preacher who cannot be named for legal reasons, according to reports. He would often appear with the speaker at marches while in Britain and was once seen waving the Isis flag. 

He managed to evade MI5 to flee to Syria via Cyprus, flying with another man from Stansted airport to join jihadists in January 2013, according to reports. More recently pictures surfaced of Haque in camouflage clothing, holding an AK-47 assault rifle. 

Dhar was also said to have managed to flee to Syria. The 31-year-old skipped bail to fight for Isis in September 2014. He had been arrested for terrorism offences in the same month. Dhar reportedly also goes by the name of Abu Rumaysah, having converted from Hinduism to Islam.

Using his own passport, Dhar travelled with his pregnant wife and four children to leave Britain by coach from London Victoria to France.

When he arrived in Syria, he sported military clothing, boots, and, like Haque, was photographed holding a rifle. He posed with his newborn baby and labelled the picture “Generation Islamic State”. 

The fact Dhar and Haque managed to leave Britain has raised questions over how effective border security forces are when monitoring radicals. 

Haque has also tried to recruit more men from Britain. Using the name Abu Fulan, Haque has in the past been in contact with a man called Michael Coe, 34, using messaging services that allow anonymous communication. 

Coe, Simon Keeler and former boxer Anthony Small were all cleared of attempting to travel to Syria in 2015. 

Haque used to go to the gym with Coe and ran Dawah stalls preaching the Islam faith in East Ham, London. Together with Dhar and other suspected extremists, they were known figures in a banned organisation called Al-Muhajiroun.