Updated on November 13 at 12:22 a.m.
A Pentagon spokesman says the U.S. is “reasonably certain” that Mohammed Emwazi, the Islamic State member better known as Jihadi John, was killed in a drone strike in Syria.
“We know for a fact that the weapons system hit its intended target and that the personnel who were on the receiving end of that weapons system were in fact killed,” Colonel Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said at a news conference. “We still have to finalize the verification that those personnel were specifically who we thought they were.”
Emwazi is the British-accented masked man seen in several Islamic State videos executing the group’s hostages. The Defense Department, in a statement Thursday, said Emwazi, a Kuwaiti-born Briton who earned the monicker Jihadi John, had been targeted by a U.S. airstrike on Raqqa, Syria.
Warren said Friday the attack was carried out by a drone using a Hellfire missile.
Earlier, the BBC quoted an unnamed U.S. military source as saying there was a “high degree of certainty” Emwazi was killed in Thursday’s strike near Raqqa.
Emwazi can be seen in the videos showing the killings of Steven Sotloff and James Foley, the American journalists; Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig, the U.S. aid worker; David Haines and Alan Henning, the British aid workers; Kenji Goto, a Japanese journalist, and other hostages released by the Islamic State as part of its chilling propaganda efforts.