Special Ops intelligence tracks the radical Islamic killers

Washington Examiner:
For more than 30 years, a top secret US special operations intelligence unit known only as "the Activity," or more recently Task Force Orange, has operated in the shadows, tracking down America's enemies around the world for Delta or SEAL Team Six to kill or capture, or more recently for Reaper drones to assassinate from afar. In an excerpt from the brand new eBook of his history of the Activity, "Killer Elite," Michael Smith describes its role in the fight against Islamic State in Syria, Libya and Iraq.
It was just nine minutes to midnight on 12 November 2015 when Jihadi John hurried out of a building close to the headquarters of Islamic State in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa. He was getting out of the city, accompanied by a team of bodyguards. He knew he was a target for the U.S. special operations forces who were ripping the terrorist group apart and he'd been spooked by the constant presence of American drones, whirring overhead. Jihadi John had made himself a hate figure in the West with his ego-driven beheading of seven journalists and aid workers. Now he was in hiding, never using his phone or computer. Some said he had fled Syria for Libya. He hadn't. It was disinformation to try to confuse the U.S. and British intelligence services who were tracking him down.

But even Jihadi John didn't realize quite how much of a target he was. He had turned himself into the public face of Islamic State. U.S. and British forces were more focused on finding him than they were on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the organization's leader. Even as he opened the door of the car, a Hellfire missile fired by an American Reaper drone several thousand feet above Raqqa was heading towards him at close to a thousand miles an hour. He had barely realized something was wrong before he was dead. The missile destroyed the car, leaving little evidence that Jihadi John and his friend had ever existed.

The Pentagon said he had been "evaporated." The Joint Special Operations Command team tracking him preferred the term "smoked." Ironically for a man who reveled in justifying the murder of his victims through a distorted interpretation of Sharia law, the series of missiles destroyed Jihadi John and his bodyguards on Clocktower Square, where Islamic State executed anyone who refused to bow to their brutal rule.

The brutal beheadings of foreign hostages had led to a manhunt involving virtually every U.S. and British intelligence team available. The Activity was just one player in the race to find Jihadi John. The National Security Agency and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters along with the FBI and Britain's Security Service MI5 spent weeks trying to identify him, focusing primarily on voice recognition but also his skin colour, his height, physique, eyes and even the patterns of the veins on his hands. By September 2014, MI5 was confident that they had identified him. Jihadi John's real name was Mohammed Emwazi. He was born in Kuwait but when he was six his family moved to London where the young Mohammed lived a comfortable middle-class life in an affluent area of west London. A diligent young man, he studied computing at Westminster College where he was radicalized by fellow students....
There is more.

Finding an destroying Jihadi John both angered and frightened the Islamic religious bigots of ISIL.  They have since added other butchers to their entourage ranging from giant fat guys to small kids.  But, the killing did seem to mark the beginning of the end of the reign of terror in the caliph.


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