Bri­tish Isis mem­ber Sally Jones 'killed in airstrike with 12-year-old son'

The Guardian Australia - - World News - Ewen MacAskill De­fence cor­re­spon­dent

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

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