US operation targeting ‘Jihadi John’ based on Turkish intelligence

US operation targeting ‘Jihadi John’ based on Turkish intelligence

Fevzi Kızılkoyun – ANKARA
US operation targeting ‘Jihadi John’ based on Turkish intelligence

(FILES) - A file picture taken on February 27, 2015, 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 joint operation by the United States and Britain targeted the British leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), “Jihadi John,” was based on intelligence shared by Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT).

Kuwaiti-born Briton Mohammed Emwazi, perceived as ISIL’s “lead executioner,” was “reasonably certainly” killed in a joint drone strike by the U.S. and Britain on Nov. 13. 

Meanwhile, recent reports revealed that Turkey shared intelligence on the whereabouts of the militant in ISIL’s capital, Raqqa, enabling the airstrikes that are believed to have been successful. 

Accordingly, MİT determined that a female British messenger arrived at Raqqa on Nov. 4 and started to hold meetings across town. MİT shared this intelligence with Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) MI-6.
Tracking the woman down, MI-6 reported back to MİT, saying the messenger had connections with Emwazi, publicly known as Jihadi John.

Monitoring the woman inside Raqqa, MİT determined the location of Aine Leslie Junior Davis, a suspected associate of Jihadi John. Turkey’s intelligence organization also discovered Davis would soon travel to Europe through Turkey in order to deliver orders on planned terror attacks. 

Reports indicate Davis left Raqqa on Nov. 7 and crossed into the Çıldıroba village of Turkey’s Syrian border town of Kilis. The jihadist moved to a cell house in Gaziantep the same day, where he stayed for two nights.

On Nov. 9, Davis took a coach and arrived in Istanbul on Nov. 10. 

MİT secretly monitored the movements, meetings and connections of Davis throughout his time in Istanbul, until raiding a million-dollar ISIL cell house in Istanbul’s Silivri district on Nov. 12.

Davis and four others were captured in the cell house, while 11 people, seven of whom were foreigners, were detained in simultaneous operations in Istanbul, Kilis and Gaziantep. 

Sources claim some 20 foreigners were inside the villa at the time of the raid, including women and children. Police seized around a hundred flash disks and hard disk drives in the operation. 

According to reports, however, Davis declined to comment during his interrogation in Istanbul and all information was gathered through a digital investigation of his phone line. 

Meanwhile, intelligence sharing between MİT, MI-6 and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) proved valuable as Britain and the U.S. made use of Turkish intelligence in striking targets where Jihadi John was presumably staying.

On Nov. 12, two U.S. MQ-9 Reaper drones and one British MQ-9 began tracking two people who had entered a car, one of whom is believed to be Emwazi. 

Two missiles destroyed the car targeted in the strike. The U.S. has expressed growing optimism that Emwazi was dead but cautioned that a formal determination would take time.