An RAF drone strike in Syria that killed a jihadist from Aberdeen also claimed the life of another British terrorist who was a prolific recruiter for Islamic State, a major report has revealed.
MPs and peers given high-level access to intelligence reports said they were “in no doubt” that Reyaad Khan posed a “very serious threat”.
He “orchestrated numerous plots to murder large numbers of UK citizens and those of our allies, as part of a wider terrorist group which considers itself at war with the West,” according to the assessment from the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC).
Khan, from Cardiff, was targeted by a remotely piloted aircraft in August 2015 in the Raqqah area of Syria.
The operation that killed the 21-year-old was the first time the UK had conducted a lethal drone strike against a terrorist target outside of participation in a military campaign.
While Khan was the target of the attack, two other individuals travelling in the same vehicle were also killed, including Ruhul Amin from Aberdeen.
Then prime minister David Cameron announced the UK had conducted the strike in a statement on the threat posed by IS, also known as Isil or Daesh, in September 2015.
But the ISC’s report provides the first detailed account of the intelligence amassed by security services on Khan before he was targeted.
Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, the committee’s chairman, said: “In terms of the severity of the threat posed by Reyaad Khan, it appears from the 25 intelligence reports and two formal intelligence assessments that we have seen, that Khan was a prolific recruiter and attack planner.”
Alongside another plotter, Junaid Hussain, Khan “encouraged multiple operatives around the world to conduct attacks against the UK and our allies” over the course of nine months, Mr Grieve said.
He added: “They provided practical instructions for the manufacture of bombs, and information on targets.”
Hussain, 21, from Birmingham, died in a US air strike three days after Khan was killed.
Another document describes how Khan was “prominent in attack planning on behalf of Daesh; directly inciting individuals to conduct attacks”.
The committee’s report disclosed that Khan and Hussain were connected to an unspecified number of the seven major plots thwarted in the UK in 2015.