Bri­tish IS re­cruiter killed by US air strike

Syria: Re­ac­tion over al­le­ga­tion that ‘White Widow’ was le­git­i­mate tar­get

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - NEWS -

Bri­tish na­tion­als fight­ing with Is­lamic State in Syria are a “le­git­i­mate tar­get” for drone strikes, de­fence sec­re­tary Sir Michael Fal­lon has said af­ter it emerged Sally-Anne Jones, the so­called White Widow, was be­lieved to have died in a US strike.

Speak­ing at a For­eign Of­fice press con­fer­ence, Sir Michael re­fused to com­ment di­rectly on re­ports that the ter­ror­ist re­cruiter had been killed but said Is­lamic State (IS) fight­ers were at risk of be­ing hit “ev­ery hour of ev­ery day”.

Jones was killed close to the border between Syria and Iraq by a US Air Force strike in June, ac­cord­ing to me­dia re­ports.

She and her hus­band Ju­naid Hus­sain went to Syria in 2013 to join IS.

He was killed by a US drone in 2015, and had al­legedly been plan­ning “bar­baric at­tacks against the West”, in­clud­ing ter­ror plots tar­get­ing “high pro­file pub­lic com­mem­o­ra­tions” this sum­mer.

News of her death was not made pub­lic amid fears that her 12-year-old son Jojo may also have been killed.

Sir Michael said: “If you are a Bri­tish na­tional in Iraq or Syria and if you have cho­sen to fight for Daesh – an il­le­gal or­gan­i­sa­tion that is pre­par­ing and in­spir­ing ter­ror at­tacks on our streets – then you have made your­self a le­git­i­mate tar­get and you run the risk ev­ery hour of ev­ery day of be­ing on the wrong end of an RAF or a United States mis­sile.”

Jones, who was pre­vi­ous- ly a mem­ber of an all-fe­male punk rock group, left her home in Chatham, Kent, af­ter con­vert­ing to Is­lam.

She used her Twit­ter ac­count to re­cruit women and pro­vided prac­ti­cal ad­vice on how to travel to Syria.

Born in Green­wich, Lon­don, she en­cour­aged in­di­vid­u­als to carry out at­tacks in Bri­tain, of­fer­ing guid­ance on how to con­struct home­made bombs.

She has also shared pic­tures of her­self pos­ing with weapons, and used so­cial me­dia to post ex­trem­ist com­ments, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing to be­head Chris­tians.

The IS re­cruiter shares the name “White Widow” with Sa­man­tha Lewth­waite who was once mar­ried to July 7 bomber Ger­maine Lind­say, and is thought to be one of the world’s most wanted women.

Asked whether the US asked the Bri­tish Govern­ment for per­mis­sion to

“IS fight­ers were at risk of be­ing hit ev­ery hour of ev­ery day”

carry out the strike, prime min­is­ter Theresa May said: “I’m aware of the re­ports about this par­tic­u­lar is­sue but I’m not in a po­si­tion to com­ment fur­ther.”

She also de­clined to com­ment on whether Jones’s 12-year-old son had been killed in the strike.

Mrs May’s of­fi­cial spokesman de­clined to com­ment on re­ports of Jones’s death but said: “Any­one who does travel to Syria for what­ever rea­son is putting them­selves at con­sid­er­able dan­ger and that is par­tic­u­larly true if they are fight­ing for our en­e­mies.

“The counter-Daesh coali­tion, led by the US, fol­lows clear and law­ful rules of en­gage­ment.”

Labour leader Jeremy Cor­byn said: “It is un­con­firmed so we have to be quite care­ful on this, but quite clearly it is sig­nif­i­cant if it has hap­pened.”

AT­TACK: It is thought Sally-Anne Jones was killed by a US Air Force strike in June

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