Top Islamic State hacker killed in US drone strike in Syria, say reports
Junaid Hussain, a top Islamic State jihadist recruiter and an expert British hacker, has been killed in a US drone strike in Syria, according to a media report.
Washington: Junaid Hussain, a top Islamic State jihadist recruiter and an expert British hacker, has been killed in a US drone strike in Syria, according to a media report.
The Birmingham-born Hussain, who adopted the nom de guerre Abu Hussain al-Britani, had been a key figure within Isis' so-called "Cyber Caliphate" before being killed in the strike in Syria, where he had travelled in 2013.
The US military and intelligence community is in the final stages of confirming that a US drone strike this week killed Hussain, CNN reported.
"We have a high level of confidence he was killed," a US official was quoted as saying.
Hussain was killed in Raqqa, the self-declared capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Raqqa, located in northern Syria, has been treated as a safe haven by ISIS so reaching him in the city adds to the significance of the strike, the report said.
Several US officials said the drone strike was specifically targeting Hussain travelling in a vehicle in Syria after the US got intelligence on where he was and watched him to confirm his presence before striking.
Subsequent assessments indicated that Hussain had stepped outside when he was hit by a missile from a US drone, the report said.
The mission was conducted by the US military because it has clear rules of engagement to attack ISIS and there could be no implication the British government was involved in the killing of Hussain, a British citizen.
This is the second strike against a senior ISIS operative in as many weeks.
Last week, a drone strike killed Haji Mutazz, the top ISIS deputy to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, head of the organisation.
US officials said that since the Mutazz killing, ISIS leadership appears to be arresting and killing a number of people it suspects may have disclosed intelligence about the group's movements.
Hussain is described by US officials as a high-value target in ISIS.
"This is a great intelligence success," a US official said.
Hussain is alleged to have been involved in circulating a so-called hit list of addresses and photos of US military personnel put out by a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division.
Hussain and his wife, Sally Jones, a mother-of-two and former punk rocker, had been dubbed 'Mr and Mrs Terror'.
In June this year Hussain was linked with an Islamic State plot to attack an Armed Forces Day parade in south London.
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