The Islamic State (ISIS) confirmed on Jan. 19 that the militant Mohammed Emwazi, also known as “Jihadi John,” who appeared in several propaganda videos featuring the alleged beheadings of Western hostages, was killed by a U.S. airstrike in November 2015.
In its Dubiq online magazine, ISIS published an obituary for the militant, describing how he "pretended to be unintelligent to trick MI5 officers" when traveling from the U.K. to Kuwait in 2010, according to The Telegraph. After several unsuccessful attempts to enter Kuwait, he is believed to have entered Syria to join ISIS.
Emwazi, who was a naturalized British citizen born in Kuwait, first appeared as the executioner in an ISIS video which reportedly showed the killing of U.S. journalist James Foley in August 2014. He was identified in February 2015 in a Washington Post article, which described him as a quiet man who grew up in West London and studied computer programming in college. He is believed to have been radicalized as far back as 2005, when he praised the terror attacks on London’s transit system, the Telegraph notes.
His captives dubbed him “Jihadi John," after the Beatles' John Lennon, because of his distinctive British accent. His voice helped intelligence officials identify him in videos that showed the killing of British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, American journalist Steven Sotloff, and American aid worker Peter Kassig.
On Nov. 12, 2015, a U.S. unmanned drone strike hit a car traveling in Raqqa, the ISIS capital within Syria. U.S. officials announced that the strike had hit its intended target, which was later revealed to be Emwazi. The strike, part of an ongoing series of attacks by an international coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria, killed Emwazi and left no collateral damage, according to ABC News.
British Prime Minister David Cameron supported the attack, calling Emwazi a “barbaric murderer” and describing the strike as “the right thing to do.”