Kurt Bayer is a Herald reporter based in Christchurch

Kiwi jihadist mistakenly broadcasts his location

Mohammad Daniel, also know as Abu Abdul Rahman, and formerly known as Mark John Taylor.
Mohammad Daniel, also know as Abu Abdul Rahman, and formerly known as Mark John Taylor.

A Kiwi jihadist who claims to be fighting in Syria with the Islamic State has been mistakenly broadcasting his exact location after forgetting to turn off a tracking function on his phone.

Mohammad Daniel, also known as Abu Abdul Rahman, and formerly known as Mark John Taylor, has now deleted 45 posts from Twitter after discovering that he had been revealing his location to intelligence agencies and enemies keeping tabs on him.

Experts say such information is invaluable in helping investigators establish links that foreign fighters have with terrorist groups.

"In this manner, they can better justify potential criminal charges against the individual and at the very least build grounds for their detention and investigation upon their return," said Jeff R Weyers of Canada-based open source intelligence research group iBRABO which spotted Daniel's blunders.

Daniel's tweets apparently show that in October this year he was with Isis in Kafar Roma, an area that President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian Army has previously confirmed had been occupied by pockets of foreign fighters from Isis.

His tweets stopped around the time that the Syrian Army made a strong push into the area.

He then goes off the grid for several months while fighting in the desert and finally retreating to the Isis stronghold of Al Tabqah in early December.

Daniel sent several tweets from Al Tabqah which allowed iBRABO to pinpoint a specific house in the southwest of the city that he had "predominantly used" from December 3-10.

A recent photo update - that shows the face of another Isis fighter - revealed Daniel again on the move.

"No doubt this is a better alternative than being targeted by a drone strike or any group with the operational capabilities to target his short lived home in Al Tabqah," Mr Weyers said.

The Twitter mishaps will further hamper future plans of a return home.

In September, while in war-ravaged Aleppo, Daniel claimed to have been in touch with the New Zealand Government in a bid to get a new passport after burning his last one.

Daniels was friends with another New Zealand radical, Muslim Bin John.

He travelled to see John in Yemen in 2009, leading to him being recommended for travel restrictions.

John, suspected of links to al-Qaeda splinter group AQAP, was killed in a drone strike last year.

In 2009, Daniel was arrested by Pakistan authorities while trying to gain access to an al-Qaeda and Taleban stronghold close to the Afghanistan border and was subsequently subjected to travel restrictions by the New Zealand Government.

He left New Zealand again in May 2012 and worked in Indonesia for two years as an English teacher.

In June this year, he entered Syria across the Turkish border "as a soldier for Allah".


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