ISIS Confirms Executioner "Jihadi John" Died In Drone Strike

Photo: REUTERS/ REUTERS TV/ Landov.
Mohamed Emwazi, known in the media as "Jihadi John," was the target of a U.S. airstrike.
Update: The Islamic State group has confirmed that Mohammed Emwazi, a British-born militant known in press reports as "Jihadi John," was in fact killed in a drone strike in November. ISIS confirmed Emwazi's death in a eulogy published in the group's official online magazine, the BBC reported.

This story was originally published on November 13, 2015 and updated with a statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook.

An Islamic State group militant known for his role in gruesome videos showing the execution of hostages, was targeted by a U.S. airstrike on Thursday, the Pentagon has confirmed.

Mohammed Emwazi, who is often called "Jihadi John" in the media, was the intended target of the operation in Raqqa, Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement. An official told the Associated Press that U.S. forces struck a car believed to be carrying Emwazi. Officials have not confirmed whether he was killed.

"We are assessing the results of tonight's operation and will provide additional information as and where appropriate," Cook said in a statement.

Emwazi, who officials say is British, was one of several members of the group that some hostages called "the Beatles" because of their accents, according to those who have escaped. His nickname was a reference to John Lennon.

He became internationally known after participating in videos released by ISIS that claim to show the murders of hostages. Victims included American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig (formerly known as Peter Kassig), British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, the Pentagon said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called the strike "an act of self-defense" and the "right thing to do," according to NBC News.

"He posed an ongoing and serious threat to innocent civilians...He was intent on murdering many more people," he said.

ISIS' presence in Syria has grown during the violent conflict that has raged for nearly five years. Refinery29 has compiled a primer with all you need to know about the Syrian war — and the millions fleeing the conflict — as part of our ongoing coverage of the refugee crisis.
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