WASHINGTON – The Pentagon said U.S. forces have conducted an airstrike in Syria targeting the British man seen in the videotaped slayings of Japanese journalist Kenji Goto last January, and several other captives.
A Pentagon spokesman said the airstrike Thursday in the Syrian city of Raqqa targeted Mohamed Emwazi, also known as ‘Jihad John.’
“Emwazi, a British citizen, participated in the videos showing the murders of U.S. journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley, U.S. aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, British aid workers David Haines and Alan Henning, Japanese journalist Kenji Goto, and a number of other hostages,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.
A U.S. official said a drone targeted a vehicle believed to be carrying Emwazi. The official was not authorized to speak publicly and requested anonymity.
“We are assessing the results of tonight’s operation and will provide additional information as and where appropriate,” Cook’s statement said.
Freelance videographer Kenji Goto was seized by the Islamic State group and beheaded days after the murder of fellow Japanese hostage Haruna Yukawa.
The militants offered to release Goto in exchange for a prominent captive held in Jordan, but the swap did not materialize.
Japanese officials were criticized in some quarters for their flat-footed response to the crisis. Stung by criticism of weak intelligence capabilities in the region, the government pledged in February to deploy a greater number of security liaison officers at embassies across the Middle East.
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