On Friday, U.S. military officials said they were reasonably certain that an American airstrike in Syria targeting British-born terrorist “Jihadi John,” successfully eliminated the target.
Mohammad Emwarzi, also known as “Jihadi John” was a high ranking ISIS official that had been seen in videos beheading hostages.
According to FOX News, a U.S. military official discussing the airstrike said, “We are 99 percent sure we got him.”
On Thursday night, Colonel Steve Warren said the U.S. military was reasonably certain Jihadi John was killed in the airstrike. The driver of the vehicle he was in was also killed by the Hellfire missile fired from the U.S. drone.
On Friday, Warren tried to downplay the success of the airstrike. He said it was more of a blow to the prestige of ISIS than a military victory. Warren also called the airstrike routine and said that the U.S. military has been carrying out similar strikes against mid to high-level ISIS targets since May.
Warren later admitted that Jihadi John’s death was a big blow to ISIS.
“This guy was a human animal and killing him is probably making the world a better place,” he added.
A former hostage described Jihadi John, who was believed to be in his mid-20s, as a bloodthirsty psychopath who liked to threaten Western hostages. Javier Espinosa, a Spanish Journalist, who was once abducted by Jihadi John, said Emwarzi would explain to the hostages how he would carry out the beheadings.
Jihadi John’s death comes as the U.S. military is ramping up airstrikes in Syria and Iraq.
According to Colonel Warren, Operation Tidal Wave II, which is a U.S. led operation targeting the oil infrastructures in Syria controlled by ISIS, has been underway in recent days. Since two-thirds of the revenue ISIS receives is from oil, the operation will cripple the group financially if it is successful.
The last time U.S. forces attacked an ISIS controlled oil infrastructure in Syria, the extremist group was able to repair the damage in 24 hours. This time, the targets destroyed by the airstrikes will require replacement parts that ISIS doesn’t have. If ISIS orders the parts, they can be easily traced by the coalition forces.
“We wanted them broken longer,” said Warren. He also said that the strikes on the oil infrastructure in the past year produced damage that was “easy to replace.”