White Widow and son killed after law change

Pro­lific Isil re­cruiter Sally-anne Jones was ‘le­git­i­mate tar­get’, in­sists UK De­fence Sec­re­tary

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Ben Farmer, Robert Men­dick and Rob Crilly in New York

Sally-anne Jones, a Bri­tish Is­lamic State re­cruiter known as the White Widow, is be­lieved to have been killed in a CIA op­er­a­tion, after Don­ald Trump re­laxed re­stric­tions on the US spy agency’s drone strikes pro­gramme. Jones re­port­edly died close to the bor­der be­tween Syria and Iraq, in a strike thought to have also killed her 12-year-old son Jojo Dixon. The punk rock singer-turned-ji­hadist be­came Bri­tain’s most wanted woman after flee­ing from Kent to Syria in 2013, where she be­came a pro­lific on­line re­cruiter for the ex­trem­ist group.

A BRI­TISH Isil re­cruiter known as the White Widow and her 12-year-old son are be­lieved to have been killed in a CIA op­er­a­tion after Don­ald Trump re­laxed re­stric­tions on the US spy agency’s drone strikes.

Sally-anne Jones re­port­edly died close to the bor­der be­tween Syria and Iraq, in a strike thought to have also killed her son Jojo Dixon.

The punk rock singer-turned-ji­hadist be­came Bri­tain’s most wanted woman after flee­ing to

Syria from Kent in 2013 to marry com­puter hacker Ju­naid Hus­sain, an Isil (Is­lamic State of Iraq and the Le­vant) fighter from Birm­ing­ham. Jones be­came a pro­lific on­line re­cruiter for the ex­trem­ist move­ment and is be­lieved to have at­tracted dozens of fe­male re­cruits via so­cial me­dia. A de­fence source said the strike had been car­ried out by the CIA, which runs its own fleet of Preda­tor drones armed with Hell­fire mis­siles.

Mr Trump ramped up the CIA’S strike pro­gramme soon after tak­ing of­fice, al­low­ing the agency more free­dom to carry out strikes and hint­ing he may re­lax rules of en­gage­ment de­signed to pro­tect civil­ians. The CIA de­clined to com­ment.

The Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment is not be­lieved to have been con­sulted over the strike in June and there was no UK mil­i­tary in­volve­ment.

Sir Michael Fallon, the De­fence Sec­re­tary, said Jones was a le­git­i­mate tar­get. He warned Bri­tish na­tion­als who had joined Isil and were plot­ting at­tacks on Bri­tain “you run the risk every hour of every day of be­ing on the wrong end of an RAF or a United States mis­sile”.

The sis­ter of one girl re­cruited by Jones said she hoped the 50-year-old would “rot in hell”.

The woman, who de­clined to be named, said: “Sally Jones was an evil woman who has de­stroyed our fam­ily and I hope she rots in hell.

“My sis­ter was a nice and car­ing per­son un­til she met Sally Jones on­line. Within months she rad­i­calised her and then she changed and with­out us be­ing able to have the chance to talk to her she left for Syria to join Is­lamic State.”

One counter-ter­ror­ism source told The Daily Tele­graph that Jones had been a de­ter­mined re­cruiter and a “me­dia icon” for the group. The source said: “I don’t think the sig­nif­i­cance of her death should be un­der­es­ti­mated. She was gen­uinely very dan­ger­ous.”

Jojo was re­port­edly used as a hu­man shield by his mother and step­fa­ther to pro­tect them from mil­i­tary drone strikes. A pho­to­graph ob­tained by the Tele­graph is the last known pic­ture of him, taken in Raqqa in 2016 when he would have been aged 11. It shows the lit­tle boy wear­ing the uni­form of the “cubs of the caliphate”, the cloth­ing worn by the child sol­diers of Isil.

Jones fled to Syria with her son at the end of Novem­ber 2013, join­ing her boyfriend, an Is­lamist com­puter hacker she had met on­line. The cou­ple later mar­ried in Raqqa.

Hus­sain, from Birm­ing­ham, was as­sas­si­nated in a tar­geted US drone strike in Au­gust 2015 in Raqqa.

At the time of his death, the 21-yearold was, ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the third­high­est tar­get on the Pen­tagon’s “kill list”.

The New York Times re­ported that Hus­sain “was care­ful to keep his young step­son by his side, and the drones held their fire”. He was ex­e­cuted in a drone strike late one night when he left an in­ter­net café alone, ac­cord­ing to re­ports.

Hus­sain had hacked into a US gov­ern­ment com­puter and posted on­line the names and ad­dresses of 1,300 mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment em­ploy­ees and had urged fol­low­ers of Is­lamic State in the US to “be­head them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets”.

Sally-anne Jones, left, de­scribed as a ‘me­dia icon’ for Isil, who died along­side her 12-year-old son Jojo Dixon, right. Her hus­band Ju­naid Hus­sain, be­low, was killed by a sim­i­lar strike in 2015

The US has in­creased its drone at­tacks

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