The United States is confident of having killed a top Islamic State cyber hacker and recruiter in a drone strike in Syria this week, US authorities said Thursday.
Junaid Hussain was a British-born hacker and IS propagandist who reputedly was part of a group called the Cyber Caliphate.
“We have a high degree of confidence” that Hussain was killed in a coalition air strike in Syria this week, a US official told AFP.
Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, also announced his death, calling him Islamic State’s “top cyber jihadist.”
“This is a serious blow to ISIS — and a swift act of justice against a top cyber jihadist and recruiter,” McCaul said in a statement.
“The strike sends an unmistakable message to the terror group’s ranks: plot against us — even on social media, and we will find you.”
Hussain was linked to several cyber attacks on US Internet sites and Twitter accounts, including that of the US Central Command.
He was also cited by two gunmen who attacked an exhibit featuring cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammed on May 3 in Garland, Texas.
In Twitter messages just before the attack, which was repelled by police, the assailants called on people to follow Hussain, who reportedly responded on Twitter after the shooting: “Allahu Akbar!!!! 2 of our brothers just opened fire.”
British media said Hussain was found responsible in 2012 for hacking former prime minister Tony Blair’s accounts and posting his contacts online.