Junaid Hussain, a 21-year-old convicted computer hacker who had joined the Islamic State in 2013 as he fled to Syria, had been killed by a drone strike. The US military considered him a “high-value target” within the Islamic State.
The British national, born in Birmingham, is considered a “top cyber jihadist”. US officials said his death is a serious blow to the Islamic State and his death had sent an “unmistakable message”.
“We need to maintain vigilance and good intelligence to stop future plotting, and ultimately we must destroy the group’s terrorist sanctuary,” Mr McCaul said.
Hussain was jailed for six months in 2012 as he leaked former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s private contacts online nad had made hoax calls to a counter-terror hotline. A skilled computer hacker, the UK Sun newspaper reported his connection to detonate a pressure-cooker bomb at an Armed Forces Day parade in London.
He was part of a computer hacking group called Team Poison, which claimed responsibility for more than 1,400 offences where his personal and private information was illegally extracted from victims in the UK and around the world.
Aside from Hussain, about 700 British nationals have travelled to Syria and half have not returned home.