The United States military on Thursday carried out an airstrike (drone) in Syria targeting the Islamic State militant best known as “Jihadi John.” The man in the black hood who participated in gruesome videos of the killings of American and British hostages, according to the Pentagon and numerous media outlets.
The Pentagon said it was still evaluating the effectiveness of the strike in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State. Meanwhile, many media services worldwide were confirming that indeed the drone strike was successful.
“Jihadi John’s” real name was Mohammed Emwazi, and he was a British citizen, with an honors degree in computer programming. He grew up is a posh section of London the son of a respected and successful businessman.
“U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, on Nov. 12, 2015 targeting Mohamed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihadi John,'” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement Thursday evening.
“Emwazi, a British citizen, participated in the videos showing the murders of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley along with U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig. He also was part of video’s showing the killing of British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning as well as Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and a number of other hostages.
Cook said the US was still “assessing the results” of the strike Thursday night.
Both CNN and Fox News cited unnamed US military and defense officials indicating that the attack was successful. On CNN a source appeared “confident” Emwazi was killed. Fox News’ source said: “We are 99% sure we got him. We were on him for some time.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said on Friday that a British Islamic State militant and three other foreign fighters had been killed in Raqqa, but it did not go into more detail.
If his death is confirmed, it would be an important milestone in the U.S. led campaign against the group and would come more than a year after President Barack Obama promised justice for the deaths of American hostages.