Jihadi John, the Briton who beheaded two/British and three/American/hostages held by Islamic State terrorists, has been injured in a US-led air strike, according to reports received by the Foreign Office.
The masked ‘executioner’ with a London accent is believed to have narrowly escaped death when he attended a summit of the group’s leaders in an Iraqi town close to the Syrian border last Saturday.
The meeting was targeted by American and Iraqi jets.
The Mail on Sunday has received an independent account of how Jihadi John was injured and rushed to hospital after a devastating air strike in Al Qaim, in Anbar Province, Western Iraq.
The joint US-Iraqi mission left at least ten IS commanders dead, and around 40 injured.
Those reportedly hurt included IS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.
But until now, Jihadi John’s presence at the meeting has not emerged.
The secret, heavily guarded meeting took place last Saturday in a makeshift underground bunker beneath a house in Al Qaim. At least 30 tribal elders from various parts of Syria and Iraq gathered to pledge allegiance to Al-Baghdadi, according to our well-placed Syrian source. He said Jihadi John, as a senior IS figure in his own right, who goes by the nomme de guerre Jalman Al-Britani, was also present.
According to our source, a nurse who treated the wounded in a hospital in Deir-ez-Zour, confirmed that one of the names on the injured list was Jalman, saying it was ‘the one who slaughtered the journalists’.
It is not clear how seriously the British fanatic was hurt, but the source said that both he and Al-Baghdadi were rushed to the Al Qaim General Hospital for treatment.
IS members issued urgent calls through the local mosque’s loudspeakers, appealing for the town’s residents to donate blood at the hospital.
Our source, who does not want to be identified for his own safety, added that Jihadi John, Al-Baghdadi and the other wounded IS personnel were then driven to Syria, and travelling 200 miles north along the Euphrates valley to the IS stronghold of Raqqa.
The injured were taken to two captured Syrian army barracks near the city in the hope that underground medical facilities there would provide protection against further air strikes.
The source said that hospitals in Raqqa and nearby Deir-ez-Zour were ordered to take their medical supplies and staff to the secure bases, once the HQs of the Assad regime’s 17th Division and 93rd Brigade.
Our source, who has contacts with the IS leadership in Syria, also throws fresh light on the role played by Jihadi John within the terrorist group.
Unlike most other western Muslim recruits, he has risen to a position of some seniority. Normally, Western fighters occupy lowly positions, mainly being used as foot soldiers or performing guard duty. Although believed to formerly have been a prison guard for IS, Jihadi John was made a member of a shura council, or governing body, of an IS ‘wilayat’, or province. Jihadi John is understood to be in the shura council for the wilayat of Al Furat, an area that straddles the Syria-Iraq border and includes Al Qaim, the scene of the air strike.
Our source added that Jihadi John does not live in Raqqa, but in Al Bukamal, a small desert town which borders Iraq.
He is aged between 28 and 31, and is fluent in English, Arabic and classical Arabic, the language of the Koran, according to our source. He first joined IS in Iraq when he left the UK, but then moved to Syria.
The source said that Jihadi John usually travels in a black Audi jeep, and he has six other British terrorists with him who act as his bodyguards.
In the confusion following the bombing last weekend, rumours swiftly spread that IS leader Al-Baghdadi had been killed.
Last week, in order to scotch those rumours, he issued a 17-minute audio recording (transcript/English translation PDF/4MB), exhorting extremists to ‘erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere’.
The Mail on Sunday has obtained an Iraqi intelligence document from the Federal Intelligence and Investigation unit of the Ministry of Interior, which outlines last Saturday’s attack.
The document said that Al-Baghdadi was wearing black and first went to a kindergarten building before going to have lunch at an IS leader’s house. It is believed that the air strikes took place when he was meeting the other leaders in a bunker beneath that property.
Muhammad Nasser Delli, an MP for Anbar province, told The Mail on Sunday that local residents confirmed to him that they saw Al-Baghdadi being treated at Al Qaim. He said: ‘A number of people saw him there, but he did not stay at the hospital long. There were lots of women and children that were killed on Saturday during the air strikes.’
The Iraqi intelligence paper also states that Al-Baghdadi was taken to Al Qaim hospital, before being driven to Syria.
It lists 16 IS leaders as having been killed in the attack, and nine injured.
Among the dead are Abu Huzaifa Al-Adnany, a security guard to Al-Baghdadi, and Abu Quatayba, the cleric of Al Furat wilaya, who would sit in the same shura council as Jihadi John. Also dead is a prominent IS fighter from Chechnya called Abu Abdul Rahman Al-Shishani, says the document.