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Reaper Strike Likely Killed ‘Jihadi John’

An American drone strike in Syria reportedly killed the knife-wielding Islamic State executioner known as “Jihadi John,” according to a Pentagon statement and news reports.

An MQ-9 Reaper drone launched a Hellfire missile on Thursday near Raqqa, Syria, the Islamic State stronghold, that targeted Mohammed Emwazi, 27, the British citizen known as “Jihadi John” for executing Western prisoners, according to Col. Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman, the New York Times reported.

The Pentagon is “reasonably certain” Emwazi was killed in the attack, Warren said during a briefing with reporters on Friday.

Made by San Diego-based General Atomics, the MQ-9 is a medium– to high-altitude drone and the Air Force’s primary unmanned strike weapon. The service as of 2014 had 153 Reapers in the fleet, with an average age of 3.6 years, according to data compiled by the Air Force Associaton.

The MQ-9 is a bigger version of the MQ-1 Predator and be armed with a combination of the AGM-114 Hellfire missile, GBU-12 Paveway II laser-guided bomb and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition GPS-guided bomb.

The mission involved “persistent surveillance” and Emwazi was in a vehicle at the time of the strike, CNN reported.

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