WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. drone strike targeted a vehicle in Syria believed to be transporting the masked Islamic State militant known as “Jihadi John” on Thursday, according to American officials. Whether the strike killed the British man who appears in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages was not known, officials said.
Mohammed Emwazi was the target of an airstrike in Raqqa, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. Officials were assessing the results of the strike, he said.
A U.S. official told The Associated Press that a drone had targeted a vehicle in which Emwazi was believed to be traveling. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
Emwazi has been described by a former hostage as a bloodthirsty psychopath who enjoyed threatening Western hostages. Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who had been held in Syria for more than six months after his abduction in September 2013, said Emwazi would explain precisely how the militants would carry out a beheading.
Among those beheaded by Islamic State militants in videos posted online since August 2014 were U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.