Washington granddad ‘sells car, motorbikes and boat to fight ISIS in Iraq’

In this image released by the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Kurdish peshmerga forces prepare for battle against the Islamic State group, south of the Mosul Dam, in Iraq.  (AP Photo/Kurdistan Region Security Council)
In this image released by the Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC), Kurdish peshmerga forces prepare for battle against the Islamic State group, south of the Mosul Dam, in Iraq. (AP Photo/Kurdistan Region Security Council)
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A granddad has sold his car, motorbikes and boat to fund a personal crusade against ISIS, according to reports.

Jim Atherton is said to have left his wife and three children at their family home in Washington to join a voluntary Christian militia organisation known as Dwekh Nawsha, set up to fight the so-called Islamic State in the Middle East.

The 53-year-old has no military training and formerly worked as a van driver for 20 years.

But the grandfather-of-two now patrols the frontline armed with a machine gun, grenades and explosives.

He is reported to have raised £18,000 to fund his trip to fight ISIS and sold his Sierra Cosworth car, two motorbikes and a boat.

Part of the cash went on his £3,000 kit, which includes an AK-47, a Glock pistol, shotgun and a Kalashnikov machine gun.

Dwekh Nawsha, which means The Sacrificers, that is made up of fighters from Europe, the USA and Australia.

Said to be the son of a former soldier, Mr Atherton is quoted in The Sun newspaper as saying he felt compelled to fight ISIS militants after his brother Sean died while fighting in Iraq in 2006.

“It’s something I felt I had to do. I wanted my grandkids to know what I’m really about,” he told the newspaper.

“Watching what IS are doing just beats me up. Nobody seemed to be doing anything about it, so I decided that I would.

“I’m a middle-aged white van man. I thought if I’m going to do anything with myself it’s going to be now.’

Mr Atherton is said to have decided to leave Britain to join the fight against jihad in April and spent the 12 months prior saving everything he could and selling off his cars and bikes.

He suffered a heart attack in 2007, and had no previous military training, but has not been deterred.

The dad-of-three, who also has four rescued dachshunds, flew from Newcastle to Amsterdam, before attempting to cross into Turkey.

He then travelled to Erbil in Iraq, and is now based at the Dwekh Nawsha’s headquarters in Dohuk, situated just north of Mosul.

Mr Atherton claims he has seen combat four times since his arrival.

The voluntary group, which is currently protecting the local Christian population in Iraqi villages such as al-Qosh, operates on a rotation system with half of the group on leave at all times.