The Slatest

U.S. Air Strike in Syria Targets “Jihadi John,” Executioner in ISIS Beheading Videos

An arrangment of British daily newspaper headlines about the masked ISIS militant “Jihadi John.”

Photo by DANIEL SORABJI/AFP/Getty Images

The Pentagon confirmed that U.S. forces conducted airstrikes in Syria on Thursday targeting the notorious ISIS terrorist known as “Jihadi John.” The British man, whose real name is Mohamed Emwazi, is best known for his role in the gruesome ISIS beheading videos of journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, and a number of others. A U.S. official told the Associated Press “a drone had targeted a vehicle believed to be carrying Emwazi.” According to the Pentagon, it was not immediately clear if the airstrike in Raqqa, the operational capital of the group, killed the ISIS militant. ABC News is reporting, however, that U.S. officials believe Emwazi was killed during the operation.

“If confirmed, Emwazi’s death would cap over a year of Western efforts to hunt down a militant who became widely known in August 2014 when he appeared—masked and dressed from head to toe in black—in a video in which he executed American journalist James Foley,” the Washington Post notes. “Former Islamic State hostages have described Emwazi, one of a number of English-speaking captors dubbed ‘the Beatles’ due to the British accents, as a vicious captor who participated in the waterboarding and beating of hostages.”