U.S. Drone Strike Targets ‘Jihadi John’


JIHADI JOHN[Update below.] The U.S. launched a drone strike on Thursday with the aim of killing Jihadi John, the notorious masked ISIS militant widely known for beheading several Western hostages, the Pentagon confirmed in a statement.

The Washington Post first reported the strike, citing officials. The Pentagon said they were still “assessing the results of tonight’s operation” to determine whether the strikes in the Syrian city of Raqqa actually killed Jihadi John, who has been identified as British citizen Mohammed Emwazi.

An official told ABC News Emwazi was “eviscerated” in a “clean hit” with no collateral damage. The militant first appeared in an ISIS video in August 2014, when he beheaded American journalist James Foley on camera. He also is believed to have participated in the executions of American journalist Steven Sotloff, American worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning as well as Japanese journalist Kenji Goto. Read more at the Washington Post.

Update: According to several reports, Jihadi John was killed in the strike.

A US official told The Associated Press that a drone had targeted a vehicle in which Emwazi was believed to be traveling. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.

Emwazi, believed to be in his mid-20s, has been described by a former hostage as a bloodthirsty psychopath who enjoyed threatening Western hostages. Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who had been held in Syria for more than six months after his abduction in September 2013, said Emwazi would explain precisely how the militants would carry out a beheading.

In the videos, a tall masked figure clad in black and speaking in a British accent typically began one of the gruesome videos with a political rant and a kneeling hostage before him, then ended it holding an oversize knife in his hand with the headless victim lying before him in the sand.

Emwazi was identified as “Jihadi John” last February, although a lawyer who once represented Emwazi’s father told reporters that there was no evidence supporting the accusation. Experts and others later confirmed the identification.

Emwazi was born in Kuwait and spent part of his childhood in the poor Taima area of Jahra before moving to Britain while still a boy, according to news reports quoting Syrian activists who knew the family. He attended state schools in London, then studied computer science at the University of Westminster before leaving for Syria in 2013. The woman who had been the principal at London’s Quintin Kynaston Academy told the BBC earlier this year that Emwazi had been quiet and “reasonably hard-working.”

{Andy Heller-Matzav.com Newscenter}