Prominent ISIS recruiter killed in airstrike

Updated 5:54 PM EDT, Fri August 28, 2015
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A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May).
Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks.
One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî.
His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack.
He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group.
Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems.
All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017.
Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June.
Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself.
ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty.
ìThe judge will now deci
Greater Manchester Police
A man from Lancashire who encouraged Islamic extremists to wage jihad in the West, including targeting Prince George and injecting poison in to supermarket ice-cream, has been convicted today (31 May). Husnain Rashid, 32, posted messages online glorifying successful terrorist atrocities committed by others while encouraging and inciting his readers to plan and commit attacks. One of his posts included a photograph of Prince George, along with the address of his school, a black silhouette of a jihad fighter and the message ìeven the royal family will not be left aloneî. His common theme was that attacks could be carried out by one individual acting alone. Rashid suggested perpetrators had the option of using poisons, vehicles, weapons, bombs, chemicals or knives. Rashid uploaded terrorist material to an online library he created with the goal of helping others plan an attack. He also planned to travel to Turkey and Syria with the intention of fighting in Daesh-controlled territories. He contacted individuals he believed to be in Daesh territory, seeking advice on how to reach Syria and how to obtain the required authorisation necessary to join a fighting group. Rashid provided one individual who had travelled to Syria and was known online as ìRepunzelî, with information about methods of shooting down aircraft and jamming missile systems. All the offences relate to Rashidís activities online between October 2016 and his arrest in November 2017. Rashidís trial started on 23 May at Woolwich Crown Court but he changed his plea to guilty on four counts on 31 May. He will be sentenced on 28 June. Sue Hemming from the CPS said: ìHusnain Rashid is an extremist who not only sought to encourage others to commit attacks on targets in the West but was planning to travel aboard so he could fight himself. ìHe tried to argue that he had not done anything illegal but with the overwhelming weight of evidence against him he changed his plea to guilty. ìThe judge will now deci
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FILE - In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa, Syria. Simultaneous attacks on the Islamic State-held city of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa, the de facto IS capital across the border in eastern Syria, would make military sense: They would make it harder for the extremists to move reinforcements and deny them a safe haven. (Militant website via AP, File)
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(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. 
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 / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
(FILES) This image grab taken from a propaganda video released on July 5, 2014 by al-Furqan Media allegedly shows the leader of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aka Caliph Ibrahim, adressing Muslim worshippers at a mosque in the militant-held northern Iraqi city of Mosul. The Russian army on June 16, 2017 said it hit Islamic State leaders in an airstrike in Syria last month and was seeking to verify whether IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed. In a statement, the army said Sukhoi warplanes carried out a 10-minute night-time strike on May 28 at a location near Raqa, where IS leaders had gathered to plan a pullout by militants from the group's stronghold. / AFP PHOTO / AL-FURQAN MEDIA / --/AFP/Getty Images
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(CNN) —  

The Pentagon confirmed Friday that a U.S. drone strike this week killed Junaid Hussain, an ISIS operative linked to the Garland, Texas, cartoon contest attack.

Centcom spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder told reporters Friday that Hussain was killed in an Aug. 24 airstrike in Raqqa, Syria, as first reported on CNN Wednesday.

Hussain, a British citizen, was a hacker who published the names and personal information of military personnel online as well as inspiring attacks like the one in Texas.

RELATED: U.S.: ISIS No.2 killed in U.S. drone strike in Iraq

Raqqa, located in northern Syria and the self-declared capital of ISIS, has been treated as a safe haven by ISIS, some U.S. officials pointed out to CNN, so reaching him in the city adds to the significance of the strike.

Several U.S. officials told CNN that the drone strike specifically targeted Hussain traveling in a vehicle in Syria after the U.S. got intelligence on where he was and watched him to confirm his presence before striking. Subsequent assessments indicated that Hussain had stepped outside when he was hit by a missile from a U.S. drone.

Asked about the strike on Hussain Thursday, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis responded: “We have conducted a number of strikes over the past 72 hours in Syria, specifically at ISIL leadership.”

The mission was conducted by the U.S. military because it has clear rules of engagement to attack ISIS, and there could be no implication the British government was involved in the killing of Hussain, a British citizen.

U.S. officials said there is a good deal of sensitivity about potential reaction in Muslim communities in the UK if a formal announcement is made, given that Hussain was a British citizen targeted by the U.S.

There is now a complex process underway, as there is with all strikes targeting specific ISIS members, to confirm the targeted individual was indeed killed.

This is the second strike against a senior ISIS operative in as many weeks. Last week a drone strike killed Haji Mutazz, the top ISIS deputy to Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi, head of the organization. U.S. officials said that since the Mutazz killing, ISIS leadership appears to be arresting and killing a number of people it suspects may have disclosed intelligence about the group’s movements.

Hussain is described by U.S. officials as a high-value target in ISIS.

“This is a great intelligence success,” one U.S. official told CNN.

Hussain is alleged to have been involved in circulating a so-called hit list of addresses and photos of U.S. military personnel put out by a group calling itself the Islamic State Hacking Division.

Hussain also was linked to the attack in earlier this year on a cartoon drawing contest in Garland, Texas, where participants were asked to draw the Prophet Mohammed. Investigators believe Hussain played a role online in private messaging to radicalize and inspire one of the gunmen to launch an attack. The gunmen were shot dead by a Garland police traffic officer who was part of the on-site security contingent at the event.

Hussain’s death eliminates the most prolific of all of ISIS’s English-language propagandists, according to CNN terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank. In recent months, Hussain had used Twitter to incessantly call for attacks in the West, as well as groomed potential terrorists in Western countries over encrypted online messaging apps, such as “Surespot,” Cruickshank said.

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