U.S. counter terrorism officials have told of the moment Jihadi John was killed with a ‘flawless’ drone missile strike the moment he stepped into a car in ISIS’s de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria.
Pentagon officials are ’99 per cent’ sure that the world’s most wanted man, who was eventually unmasked as Mohammed Emwazi, was ‘evaporated’ near a clock tower where ISIS staged public executions.
In a story from DailyMail:
Colonel Steven Warren said Emwazi, 27, who beheaded several Western hostages on camera in ISIS propaganda videos, was ‘a human animal and killing him is probably making the world a little bit better place’.
Bethany Haines, 18, the daughter of one of his British victims, David Haines, today told how she felt ‘an instant sense of relief’ after hearing reports of his death, having previously said she would only have closure ‘once there’s a bullet between his eyes’.
But Stuart Henning, the nephew of British aid worker Alan Henning, who was also butchered by Emwazi, said he had mixed feelings because he had ‘wanted the coward behind the mask to suffer’.
A senior US defence official had earlier told Fox News: ‘We are 99 per cent sure we got him. We were on him for some time.’
‘He walked out of a building and got in the car. We struck it right after with zero collateral damage,’ a counter-terrorism official said. ‘The vehicle was on fire. It was a 100 per cent flawless, direct hit.’
The drone is thought to have taken off from the Incirilik airbase in southern Turkey. The base, which is just outside the town of Adana, is around 30 miles from the border with Syria and 200 miles from the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa.
It was thought to have been piloted from 7,000 miles away from the Creech Air Force base, Nevada,
Colonel Warren said they are ‘reasonably certain’ that they had killed Emwazi, who was the only ‘high value’ target in the mission but a driver may also have been killed.
He said formal confirmation would take time but they had ‘great confidence that this individual was Jihadi John’.
Colonel Warren added: ‘We know for a fact that the weapons system hit its intended target, and that the personnel who were on the receiving end of that weapons system were in fact killed.
‘There were no other high value individuals. Jihadi John did have a worst best friend with him who is also now dead.’
ISIS fanatics are claiming he survived the attack, with eyewitnesses telling Sky News he was taken badly injured to hospital which has been placed in lockdown by the Sunni fanatics.
Emwazi has been the subject of an international manhunt for more than a year after he first appeared in a chilling execution video in August last year.
He topped the UK Government’s ‘kill list’ of up to a dozen radicals who they wanted dead and David Cameron today said Britain had been working ‘hand in glove’ with the U.S. to track him down.
The British Prime Minister welcomed reports of the killing which he called an ‘act of self defense’.
He stopped short of confirming that Emwazi – who he branded a ‘barbaric murderer’ – was dead but said the targeted attack was ‘the right thing to do’.
There is a high possibility British spies were operating on the ground in Raqqa to help identify Emwazi before the strike and may now be trying to collect DNA evidence to prove his death.
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Emwazi’s role in ISIS propaganda videos used to radicalize people meant he was a ‘target worth going after’.
He added: ‘Emwazi was an ISIL [ISIS] leader, he was a strategist for that organization, he was intimately involved in the effort by ISIL to recruit individuals to their cause.
‘His ability to use social media to inspire and radicalize people around the globe meant that he was making a valuable contribution to ISIL’
Asked about Mr Cameron’s description of the strike as ‘self defense’, Mr Earnest said: ‘The role that Mr Emwazi has played in radicalizing individuals around the world, in inspiring individuals to join their cause made him a threat not just to the region but to countries around the world.’
A senior U.S. official, quoted by CNN, said the drone strike came after ‘persistent surveillance’ and claimed the authorities were certain it was Emwazi when they fired the missile.
The drone is believed to have been tracking Emwazi for most of the day yesterday and he was ‘ID’d and engaged’ when he came out of a building and got into a vehicle in Raqqa.
Another senior military source told the BBC there is a ‘high degree of certainty’ he had been killed.
Anti-ISIS activist group Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently (RIBSS), which operates in the Syrian city, reported that Emwazi was killed at around 11.40pm last night and said it counted a further 14 air strikes in just nine minutes between 11.51pm and midnight. Read more here.
First, I don’t know for sure if we really did kill this animal! But I say – Good Riddance! This scumbag killed enough innocent victims. It is certainly not the end of ISIS, but it’s a good start! Second, I find it pretty amazing how technology works – some guy is sitting in a room in NEVADA and controls a drone in Turkey! Holy cow! On the other side, just remember we aren’t the only ones with this kind of technology in the world. God Bless Our Military! Finally, may there be some solace to those who lost family and friends, because of this piece of dirt.
Written by Nancy Hayes
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