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  1. ITV Report

Jihadi John: A quiet man who hated Britain and was 'always ready for war'

Two medics who met the Islamic State militant known as Jihadi John in Syria have described him as a quiet man hiding an adrenaline junkie streak and a "gung ho" attitude.

The British men were working at a hospital in Syria near the Turkish border when they came across the militant - named today as London man Mohammed Emwazi - as he visited friends who were injured and sick.

A man who wore full combat gear at all times, even in safe areas during the full heat of summer, he earned his high-ranking position through his aggressive behaviour.

One of the medics said Emwazi was 'always ready for war' Credit: ITV News

He was, they said, a man with "nothing to lose", and who was "always ready for war".

From what I've heard, from the way that he deals with difficult incidents, is that he seems to be someone with not really much to lose.

There have been incidents where there have been run-ins at check points and he's dealt with people in a sort of way - a careless manner, gung-ho manner, with disregard for his own life and safety.

– Medic

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the men told ITV News they had previously known of Emwazi in London but never met until they came across him separately during stints in the war-torn country in 2013, some months before he became known as Jihadi John for his role in a series of videos showing the killing of hostages.

The medics said at the time they met Emwazi in Syria, he was unmarried and was a fighter with the al Nusra Front. He later switched allegiance to Islamic State.

Mohammed Emwazi, the man identified as 'Jihadi John' Credit: ITV News

They said he was "caring" towards his friends in hospital, bringing fizzy drinks, Haribo sweets and ice cream for them - contrasting sharply with the expensive gun and extra rounds he carried into the health centre.

He was caring towards his friends... his friends seemed to like him, he was relaxed.

At the same time he also seemed to be quite prepared. He was kitted out completely. He wandered into the hospital armed, and I had to ask him to remove his weapon.

He was coordinating something on the phone.

– Medic

Emwazi had a strong dislike of Britain, they said, and scowled when the country was mentioned. He would only admit to being "kind of" British when asked, and usually identified as Yemeni-Kuwaiti, speaking Arabic as a first language.

They also revealed Emwazi was known in Syria by his Islamic name, Abu Muharib al-Yemeni - a sign of his rejection of his British roots.

He was evasive and avoided questions about where he had come from, growing suspicious of the medics' questions before starting to quiz them instead.

He told me clear cut he had no intention of returning from London. He said no way and if you ask him if he was British he would say kind of. He didn't say yes.

He was happy where he was - you could tell in a funny way he was at rest.

– Medic
The medics spoke on condition of anonymity Credit: ITV News

The men said they were "shocked" when they found out for certain that Emwazi was indeed the militant who had become known as Jihadi John, saying they had not anticipated he could be so brutal.

One of the medics said while he was aware of Emwazi's disregard for his own safety, their experience of him visiting friends in hospital had not led them to believe beheading aid workers or anyone else would be something he was capable of.

They have since spoken to UK police about their experiences in Syria.

There was nothing too remarkable about him as a person. He was normal - as normal as fighters get.

– Medic

ITV News has been unable to independently verify their claims.

ITV News UK Editor Rohit Kachroo reports:

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