Suspected British associate of ISIL's 'Jihadi John' detained in Turkey: Report

Suspected British associate of ISIL's 'Jihadi John' detained in Turkey: Report

Suspected British associate of ISILs Jihadi John detained in Turkey: Report

A file picture taken on Feb 27 shows an arrangement of British daily newspapers photographed in London showing the front-page headlines and stories regarding the identification of the masked ISIL militant dubbed 'Jihadi John.' AFP photo

A suspected associate of British Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leader "Jihadi John" is being held by authorities in Turkey, Reuters quoted two senior Turkish officials as saying on Nov. 13, a day after the United States targeted the militant in an air strike in northern Syria. 

A man thought to be Aine Lesley Davis, one of a group of British Islamists believed to have been assigned to guard foreign prisoners in Syria, was detained in Istanbul, the officials said. 

They declined to give further details, saying investigations by the police and intelligence agencies were continuing.     

The U.S.-British missile strike believed to have killed "Jihadi John" came together at lightning speed, but was months in preparation. 

Shortly before midnight on Nov. 12, two U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones and one British MQ-9 cruised above Raqqa, the Syrian heart of the ISIL’s self-declared caliphate that stretches deep into Iraq, U.S. officials said. 

The aircraft's controllers monitored two people who had entered a car. 

One, they were certain, was Mohammed Emwazi, the British computer programming graduate who catapulted to infamy in August 2014 when he presented the beheading of American journalist James Foley, the first of several grisly videos in which he presided over the beheadings of foreign hostages. 

Brandishing a knife, dressed head to toe in black, and speaking with a London accent, Emwazi became known as "Jihadi John", the most potent symbol of the group's brutality and a high-value target for U.S. and British intelligence agencies. 

U.S. officials said the U.S. and British military operation to kill Emwazi had been in the works well before the drones finally unleashed Hellfire missiles on Thursday night. 

U.S. and British agencies had tracked the Islamic State propagandist and alleged executioner for months before delivering information on his movements and location to the U.S. military, officials said. 

In the days leading up to the strike Emwazi had been moving around Raqqa, visiting his wife's residence and an Islamic State media operations cell, said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

The subsequent U.S. and British operation unfolded quickly. Two missiles destroyed the car targeted in the strike. The United States expressed growing optimism on Friday that Emwazi was dead but cautioned that a formal determination would take time. 

"We're 100 percent sure the guy we hit is dead. We are reasonably sure the dead guy is Jihadi John," said one U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 

The strike illustrates an apparent improvement in Western intelligence gathering over the past year or more in a rugged region where reliable on-the-ground information is scarce and where the United States has struggled to infiltrate the extremist group.