herald

Tuesday 24 October 2017

We have identified killer 'Jihad John', says FBI chief

The British extremist responsible for the on-screen beheading of hostages has reportedly been identified.

FBI director James Comey is said to have confirmed that the identity of the killer - up to now only known by the nickname 'Jihad John' - has been uncovered.

However, he refused to give the individual's name publicly.

Speaking at a briefing with US journalists, Mr Comey is reported to have said: "I believe that we have identified him, I'm not going to tell you who I believe it is."

Asked if he would prioritise capturing the jihadist, he said: "We will do, and expend the effort that I think the American people would want us to and expect us to."

cutting

In the three videos, the man speaks with a British accent. He holds a long knife and appears to begin cutting the three men, American reporters James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines.

The British Cabinet was briefed by the Chief of the Defence Staff and representatives from the security agencies, as MPs prepare to vote on whether the UK should join air strikes against Islamic State (IS).

David Cameron's official spokesman said there had been strong support for his position, after he warned at the UN yesterday that Britain must not fail to take on the "psychopathic" jihadis of IS because it is "frozen with fear" about repeating the mistakes of the Iraq War.

If agreed by Parliament, the UK would expect to join US-led international air campaign within days.

However, the bombing may not prove that intense as IS is understood to have limited numbers of fixed positions that can be attacked.

The news came after David Cameron's Cabinet unanimously backed UK bombings raids against IS in Iraq and will propose to the British parliament that troops will not be deployed in "ground combat operations" against IS - also known as Isil (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant).

hnews@herald.ie

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