The US military is “reasonably certain” a US drone strike killed the Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John”, a British citizen who appeared in videos of militants beheading western journalists and aid workers, a spokesperson said on Friday.
Army Colonel Steve Warren, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State, told a Pentagon briefing that Mohammed Emwazi was thought to have been killed in the Syrian town of Raqqa by a US drone firing a Hellfire missile, but that the military still needed final verification.
Britain Prime Minister, however, earlier on Friday, said he cannot confirm if “JIhadi John” had been killed in the air strike.
“If this strike was successful -- and we still await confirmation of that -- it will be a strike at the heart of ISIL (Islamic State),” Cameron said.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group, had claimed that a leading British member of Islamic State and three other foreign militants have been killed in US-led air strikes in northern Syrian town of Raqqa.
“A car carrying four foreign Islamic State leaders, including one British Jihadi was hit by US air strikes right after the governorate building in Raqqa city,” Rami Abdulrahman, director of the UK-based Observatory told Reuters.
“All the sources there are saying that the body of an important British Jihadi is lying in the hospital of Raqqa. All the sources are saying it is of Jihadi John but I cannot confirm it personally.”
Emwazi featured in videos showing the murders of US journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, US aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto and other hostages.
(With inputs from agencies)