WASHINGTON, November 13, 2015 – Following a brutal day that saw at least 37 people killed and 181 wounded in two suicide bomb attacks in a residential area of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, can we celebrate the death of “Jihadi John”?
Western officials had identified the terrorist known for his accent and brutality as Mohammed Emwazi. Emwazi was targeted in an airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, the Pentagon announced Thursday night.
Senior U.S. official said authorities are confident that the strike killed Emwazi.
A US official told the BBC the strike was on a vehicle believed to be carrying Emwazi, whom the official said had been “tracked carefully over a period of time.” The Associated Press reports a US official saying that a drone had been used in the attack.
Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook announced the strike in a statement.
“We are assessing the results of tonight’s operation and will provide additional information as and where appropriate,” Cook said.
A Downing Street spokeswoman said that “We are aware of the US statement about the air strike targeting Mohammed Emwazi. Like them, we are not commenting further at this stage.”
Emwazi, a British citizen, was showcased in videos completely covered in a black robe with a black balaclava covering his face, carrying out the brutal beheadings of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and a number of other hostages
Analysts have described Emwazi as “grotesque and fond of sadistic torture techniques.”
Information known about the terrorist includes:
- 1988: Born in Kuwait, moves to UK in 1994
- 2009: Completes computing degree at University of Westminster
- Aug 2009: Travels to Tanzania with two friends for safari but refused entry at Dar es Salaam. Put on flight to Amsterdam. After questioning there, returns to Dover
- Sept 2009: Travels to Kuwait to stay with father’s family
- July 2010: Returns to UK for short stay but told he cannot return to Kuwait as visa denied
- 2012: Passes Celta English language teaching course
- 2013: Changes name by deed poll. Tries to travel to Kuwait but is stopped. Disappears. Parents report him missing. Police tell family four months later he has entered Syria
Source: Cage, London-based campaign group