British Islamic State recruiter Sally Jones, the so-called “White Widow”, has reportedly been killed by a drone strike in Syria.
Officials are “confident” that Jones, 50, died in the targeted blast, in June, on Islamic State militants fleeing their crumbling stronghold in Raqqa, a Whitehall source told The Sun.
“The Americans zapped her trying to get away from Raqqa. Quite frankly, it’s good riddance,” the unnamed official said.
It is not known if Jones’s 12-year-old son, Joe Dixon, known as JoJo, was also caught in the drone strike. As a minor, he would not have been directly targeted.
Kent-born Jones, a one-time punk-rock singer, met Islamic fundamentalist Junaid Hussain, then 19, online and quickly became besotted with the Birmingham-born hacker.
At Hussain’s urging, she converted to radical Islam and abandoned her life in the UK to join him in Syria in 2013, taking her son, then eight, with her.
In Raqqa, Jones adopted the nom de guerre Umma Hussain al Britani and devoted herself to Isis, using multiple Twitter handles to lure potential recruits to Syria and to encourage sympathisers to carry out attacks in their home countries.
“In one propaganda post, she posed as a nun with a gun and spoke of her wish to behead Christians with a ‘nice blunt knife’,” The Sun reports.
Hussain was killed in a drone strike in 2015, but Jones continued to use social media posts and videos to promote life in the “caliphate”. Last year, her son was identified by his distraught grandparents as a participant in a propaganda video showing the execution of prisoners.
As well as her online recruitment efforts, Jones was “entrusted with leading the secretive female wing of the Anwar al-Awlaki battalion”, a unit of foreign recruits whose purpose is to orchestrate attacks on Western soil, says The Daily Telegraph.
However, earlier this year it was reported that Jones had become disenchanted with life in Raqqa. A woman living under guard in a Kurdish refugee camp who claimed to know Jones said the British convert was desperate to return to the UK.
The woman, a widow of a jihadi fighter, told Sky News that Jones “was crying and wants to get back to Britain but Isis is preventing her”.