US forces target ‘Jihadi John’ in Syria airstrike

A still image taken from an IS video purporting to show Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed Jihadi John. Picture: AFP/Getty

A still image taken from an IS video purporting to show Mohammed Emwazi, dubbed Jihadi John. Picture: AFP/Getty

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THE PROBABLE killing of “Jihadi John” by a US drone would have been “too easy for him”, the widow of his Scottish victim, David Haines, said last night.

Dragana Haines said it would have been better if Londoner Mohammed Emwazi, who featured in Islamic State (IS) terror videos beheading hostages, had faced trial.

Her comments came after the US military authorities said they were “almost certain” they had killed the notorious terrorist in a drone attack in Syria, in an exercise planned with the British.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news and said that it had been essential for national security reasons, but, echoing Mrs Haines’ comments, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said it would have been better if the terrorist had faced trial for his “callous and brutal crimes”.

Emwazi became the public image of IS with the murder of aid worker Mr Haines, from Perth, in September 2014. He also beheaded taxi driver Alan Henning from Lancashire, three Americans – James Foley, Steven Sotloff and Peter Kassig – and later two Japanese, Haruna Yukawa and Kenji Goto, and 21 Syrian government soldiers.

But Mrs Haines, who now lives in Croatia, said: “I personally would have liked to be able to come to the trial, look him in the face and see what kind of man is that. It would be more just – this is somehow too easy for him.

“[This] means very little because David is not here with us and there is no way to bring him back. The only positive thing is that he [Emwazi] can no longer harm anyone else.”

US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said officials were “reasonably certain” they had killed Emwazi with a Hellfire missile. He said “the world is better off” without the man he referred to as a “human animal”.

Col Warren said the operation had been one of a string of targeted attacks on IS leaders, claiming the US has killed one mid- to upper-level leader every two days since May.

Mr Cameron hailed the apparent death of “Jihadi John” as a “strike at the heart” of IS.

“Britain and our allies will not rest until we have defeated this evil terrorist death cult and the poisonous ideology on which it feeds,” he said.

He described the US drone attack an “act of self-defence” and “the right thing to do”.

He was backed by the chairman of Westminster’s intelligence and security committee, Dominic Grieve, who said there was a “sound legal basis” for the air strike but added that his committee might extend its inquiry into the use of drones for assassinations to include this latest attack.

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