The Pentagon said late Thursday it had launched an airstrike in Syria targeting “Jihadi John”, a British national seen in videos depicting the beheading of hostages held by ISIS.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook confirmed that the airstrike in Raqqa was directed at the notorious militant, also known as Mohamed Emwazi. It was not immediately clear whether Emwazi died in the airstrike, but a senior U.S. military official told Fox News, “we are 99 percent sure we got him.” The Pentagon was monitoring the aftermath of the strike before making a definitive announcement.
A senior U.S. defense official told Fox News that a drone was used in the airstrike. According to a senior military source, the drone had been tracking Emwazi for most of the day Thursday while he met with other people. The source said the strike took place shortly after Emwazi came out of a building in Raqqa, when he was “ID’d and engaged.”
Sky News, citing sources inside Raqqa, reported that Emwazi was badly hurt in the air strike but still alive when he was brought to the hospital there. Later, however, the same sources said the hospital was sealed off to the public. Locals say the hospital is usually closed when an ISIS figure is killed, which allows the group to go on social media and claim he is still alive.
A representative of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told the Daily Telegraph, “a car carrying four foreign Islamic State leaders, including one British jihadi, was hit by U.S. air strikes [near] the governorate building in Raqqa city.
“All the sources there are saying that the body of an important British jihadi is lying in the hospital of Raqqa,” the activist added. “All the sources are saying it is of Jihadi John but I cannot confirm it personally.”