Friday 6 December 2019

IS media confirms death of executioner 'Jihadi John'

Jihadi John was killed in November
Jihadi John was killed in November

Aine Fox

The Islamic State (IS) group has confirmed the death of the British terrorist who became known as Jihadi John.

Mohammed Emwazi had been reported killed in an airstrike last November, with US forces saying they were "reasonably certain" he was dead.

Mohammed Emwazi, known as
Mohammed Emwazi, known as "Jihadi John". Photo: Reuters

IS has now released what appears to be an obituary to the fighter, who they called Abu Muharib al-Muhajir, in the latest edition of their magazine Dabiq.

A smiling picture of the militant, who appears unmasked looking towards the ground, accompanies the text, which is written in tribute form to a man they describe as an "honourable brother".

Emwazi shocked the world when he appeared in a video in August 2014 in which he condemned the West and appeared to behead US journalist James Foley.

He emerged again in a number of other videos released by IS, including those in which American reporter Steven Sotloff and British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning were murdered.

Early last year the militant was identified as Kuwait-born Emwazi, a computer programming graduate who grew up in London.

Following the US military's report that Emwazi had been targeted, David Cameron hailed his apparent death as a "strike at the heart" of the extremist group.

The Prime Minister claimed the move was "an act of self defence" and "the right thing to do".

Emwazi was not thought to be a major tactical figure within the ranks of IS but his consistent appearance in their bloody videos meant he had a high propaganda value for the extremists.

He was killed when the car he was in was targeted by a drone, according to the English language magazine Dabiq.

The young Emwazi attended Quintin Kynaston Community Academy in north London and was described by his former headteacher as a "hard-working aspirational young man".

It later emerged he may have been bullied at school.

He went on to gain a degree in information systems with business management from the University of Westminster.

Emwazi worked at one point with an IT firm in Kuwait during a stint in the Gulf and was described by a former boss as "the best employee we ever had" and a "calm and decent" person.

But Emwazi was known to intelligence services in the UK since at least 2009 and had been on a list of potential terror suspects.

Campaign group Cage claimed Emwazi had been harassed by British security services, driving him to extremism, but the group later admitted it made mistakes in its handling of the issue.

Downing Street described Cage's claims at the time as "reprehensible".

PA Media

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