British Islamic State member Sally Jones is reported killed in air strike, along with executioner son, 12
Former punk rocker Sally Jones was an active recruiter for Islamic State, while son Jojo took part in a mass execution video last year
The British member of Islamic State Sally Jones is believed to have been killed, along with her 12-year-old son Jojo, in a US air strike.
Although there is confidence she is dead, it is impossible to be categorical given the inability to collect evidence on the ground. Other members of Isis have been reported dead only to reappear.
Jones, dubbed “the white widow” by some in the press, was a regular propagandist on social media. The former punk rocker had more than 20 handles on Twitter but there has been no activity from her in recent months.
Her son was last year seen in an Islamic State video taking part in the mass killing of prisoners along with other child executioners. Jojo Jones would have been aged 11 at the time.
The Sun newspaper reported that the CIA had told its UK counterparts that Sally Jones was killed by a Predator drone strike near the Syria-Iraq border in June.
It added she had last been seen fleeing from Raqqa and heading for the Syrian border town of Mayadin. Many Isis members have fled the city as the organisation has gradually been squeezed.
The Pentagon was unable to confirm she had been killed. Major Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “I do not have any information that would substantiate that report but that could change and we are looking into this.”
Jones was born in Greenwich, southeast London, but then moved to Chatham, Kent.
After converting to Islam she travelled from the UK to Syria in 2013 to join her husband and fellow Briton Junaid Hussain, who was killed in a US drone strike in 2015. Before she left, Jones was the guitarist in an all female punk band called Krunch.
It was after Hussain’s death that the British press began to refer to her as the white widow. She is not the only jihadist to be given this nickname, which has also been used for Samantha Lewthwaite – the widow of 7/7 London attacker Germaine Lindsay.
Both Hussain and Jones were accused of trying to recruit extremists in the UK to carry out attacks. She was placed on a UN sanctions list that included a travel ban and freeze on assets, and a hit list for US bombings.
Jones used her social media accounts to recruit women to Isis and provided practical advice on how to travel to Syria. She also encouraged individuals to carry out attacks in Britain, offering guidance on how to construct home-made bombs, and shared pictures of herself posing with weapons.
Jones posted messages in support of Isis as well as extremist comments such as: “You Christians all need beheading with a nice blunt knife and stuck on the railings at Raqqa … Come here I’ll do it for you.”
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on matters of national security.”
Major General Chip Chapman, the former head of counterterrorism at the Ministry of Defence, said Jones would have been a “significant” target as a result of her alliance with Hussain and her role in recruiting Isis fighters.
Referring to reports her son was killed in the strike, he told Press Association: “It is a difficult one because under the UN Charters he is under the age of what we would classify as a soldier.”
He continued: “Even if he got up to really bad things, he shouldn’t have been targeted. We don’t know for sure whether he was with her or not.”
Sabrina Siddiqui and agencies contributed to this report