British Isis member Sally Jones 'killed in airstrike with 12-year-old son'
The British member of Islamic State Sally Jones is believed to have been killed, along with her 12-year-old son Jojo, in a US airstrike.
Although there is confidence she is dead, it is impossible to be categorical given the inability to collect evidence on the ground. Other members of Isis have been reported dead only to reappear.
Jones, dubbed “the white widow” by some in the press, was a regular propagandist on social media. She had more than 20 handles on Twitter but there has been no activity from her in recent months.
The Sun reported that the CIA had told its UK counterparts Jones was killed by a Predator drone strike near the Syria-Iraq border in June.
It added she had last been seen fleeing from Raqqa and heading for the Syrian border town of Mayadin. Many Isis members have fled the city as the organisation has gradually been squeezed.
The Pentagon was unable to confirm she had been killed. Maj Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “I do not have any information that would substantiate that report but that could change and we are looking into this.”
Jones, a former punk musician, was born in Greenwich, south-east London, but then moved to Chatham, Kent.
After converting to Islam she travelled from the UK to Syria in 2013 to join her husband and fellow Briton Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2015.
It was after Hussain’s death that the British press began to refer to her as the white widow. She is not the only jihadist to be given this nickname, which has also been used for Samantha Lewthwaite – the widow of 7/7 London attacker Germaine Lindsay.
Both Hussain and Jones were accused of trying to recruit extremists in the UK to carry out attacks. She was placed on a UN sanctions list that included a travel ban and freeze on assets, and a hit list for US bombings.
Jones used her social media accounts to recruit women to Isis and provided practical advice on how to travel to Syria. She also encouraged individuals to carry out attacks in Britain, offering guidance on how to construct home-made bombs, and shared pictures of herself posing with weapons.
Jones posted messages in support of Isis as well as extremist comments such as: “You Christians all need beheading with a nice blunt knife and stuck on the railings at Raqqa ... Come here I’ll do it for you.”
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on matters of national security.”
Maj Gen Chip Chapman, the former head of counter-terrorism at the Ministry of Defence, said Jones would have been a “significant” target as a result of her alliance with Hussain and her role in recruiting Isis fighters.
Referring to reports her son was killed in the strike, he told Press Association: “It is a difficult one because under the UN Charters he is under the age of what we would classify as a soldier.”
He continued: “Even if he got up to really bad things, he shouldn’t have been targeted. We don’t know for sure whether he was with her or not.”
Sabrina Siddiqui and agencies contributed to this report
Sally Jones went to Syria in 2013 to join her husband and fellow Briton Junaid Hussain. Photograph: The Guardian