NEW YORK (AP) – The Islamic State group has acknowledged the death of the masked militant known as “Jihadi John,” who appeared in several videos depicting the beheadings of Western hostages, the SITE Intelligence Group reported Tuesday.
SITE, which monitors terrorist activity, reported that IS published a “eulogizing profile” of Jihadi John in its English-language magazine Dabiq on Tuesday. Jihadi John had been identified by the U.S. military as Mohammed Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born British citizen.
“His harshness towards the kuffar (disbelievers) was manifested through deeds that enraged all the nations, religions, and factions of kufr, the entire world bearing witness to this,” the Dabiq article said, according to a translation provided by SITE.
Army Col. Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman, said in November that the Army was “reasonably certain” that a drone strike in Syria had killed Emwazi, who spoke in beheading videos with a British accent as he wielded a knife.
Separately, a U.S. official said three drones – two U.S. and one British – targeted the vehicle in which Emwazi was believed to be traveling in Raqqa, the capital of the Islamic State’s self-proclaimed caliphate in northern Syria. The official said the U.S. drone fired a Hellfire missile that struck the vehicle.
“Jihadi John” appeared in videos posted online by the Islamic State starting in August 2014 that depicted the executions of 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.
Emwazi was believed to be in his mid-20s when he was killed. He had been described by a former hostage as a psychopath who enjoyed threatening his Western captives.
Spanish journalist Javier Espinosa, who was held in Syria for more than six months after his abduction in September 2013, said the Western hostages were held by three British-sounding captors who were nicknamed “the Beatles.” ”Jihadi John” was a reference to John Lennon, Espinosa said.