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US military is 'confident' it has killed 'Jihadi John' in an airstrike

by Mike Bird, Brett LoGiurato and Reuters

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike in Syria targeting the Islamic State militant best known as "Jihadi John," who participated in gruesome videos of the killings of American and British hostages, officials said.

The Pentagon said it was still evaluating the effectiveness of the strike in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Islamic State.

His real name was Mohammed Emwazi, and he was a British citizen and computer-programing graduate, hailing from a well-to-do London family.

"U.S. forces conducted an airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, on Nov. 12, 2015 targeting Mohamed Emwazi, also known as 'Jihadi John,'" Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement Thursday evening.

"Emwazi, a British citizen, participated in the videos showing the murders 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.

Cook said the US was still "assessing the results" of the strike Thursday night. On Friday morning, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UK Prime Minister David Cameron both said the results of the strike were unclear.

"If this strike was successful — and we still await confirmation of that — it will be a strike at the heart of ISIL, and it will demonstrate to those who would do Britain, our people and our allies harm we have a long reach, we have unwavering determination and we never forget about our citizens," Cameron said at a briefing in London.

Both CNN and Fox News cited unnamed US military and defense officials indicating that the attack was successful. On CNN a source appeared "confident" Emwazi was killed. Fox News' source said: "We are 99% sure we got him. We were on him for some time."

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said on Friday that a British Islamic State militant and three other foreign fighters had been killed in Raqqa, but it did not go into more detail.

If his death is confirmed, it would be an important milestone in the US-led campaign against the group and would come more than a year after US President Barack Obama promised justice for the deaths of American hostages.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-carries-out-syria-strike-targeting-jihadi-john-2015-11

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