A British Islamic State fighter plotting attacks on this country was killed in a secret UK mission, the Daily Mail can reveal today.
Naweed Hussain was hunted down by British personnel and killed by a US drone on the orders of the RAF in the Syrian city of Raqqa last spring.
The 32-year-old from Coventry allegedly planned a massacre back in Britain while in the war-ravaged country.
It is the first time the death of a British IS fighter killed in a mission involving the UK military has been revealed by anyone other than the UK or US government.
Naweed Hussain (pictured) was hunted down by British personnel and killed by a US drone on the orders of the RAF in the Syrian city of Raqqa last spring
The extremist is the third British foreign fighter to have been deliberately targeted and killed in an operation involving the UK to be named, following the deaths of Reyaad Khan and Mohammed Emwazi, known as Jihadi John, in 2015.
Hussain is one of more than 20 fighters from Britain and other countries killed in Iraq and Syria since autumn 2014 either by the RAF or in a UK-led mission because they were plotting carnage on British soil, senior security sources told the Mail. The figure could be as high as 30.
British military officers analysing intelligence found Hussain hiding in Raqqa, then an IS stronghold, last year.
He was hunted down by the UK and watched by British ‘assets’ during the covert operation in which he was killed, sources said.
The RAF then called in a US Predator drone which was in the best position to kill him at the time.
The drone pilot stationed in Creech Air Force Base, Nevada, struck him with a precision-guided weapon and he was confirmed dead.
British personnel oversaw the operation. A senior Whitehall source said: ‘We were above his head and then we called it in. It was a UK-led military operation.’
Officials believe Hussain, who called himself Abu Usamah al-Britani, was using social media to groom a new generation of jihadi brides from Britain and the West, as well as inciting terror attacks in the UK from the web.
The 32-year-old from Coventry (pictured) allegedly planned a massacre back in Britain while in the war-ravaged country
It can also be revealed that defence chiefs blocked plans to fly a UK fighter back from Iraq to Britain because they were concerned it could ‘open the floodgates’.
Hussain, a British Pakistani, travelled to Syria to join up with jihadis in June 2015 leaving his first wife and family behind.
It is alleged he later re-married a British woman before planning an atrocity to kill innocent civilians on UK soil.
A woman will stand trial later this year on terrorism offences. In March last year Hussain’s brother Nadeem was jailed for four years at Kingston Crown Court for sending the jihadi £4,000 in Syria.
IS jihadist Reyaad Khan, a student from Cardiff, became the first Briton killed in an RAF drone strike in Syria in August 2015. He was the target but another Briton, Ruhul Amin, was also killed.
In November that year the United States stated.Emwazi was killed in a US drone strike in Raqqa.
Defence sources stated.that over the past few months the RAF has directed resources to taking out a special IS unit in Syria dedicated to mounting attacks in Europe and Britain.
Pictured: Hussain was brought down by a US drone dropped on the command of the RAF
The ‘external operations’ cell was forced out of Raqqa last year and fled to Mayadin near the Iraqi border. Military chiefs believe it has been destroyed in coalition strikes in the town.
US-led coalition warplanes, including RAF jets, have also been tasked with targeting IS’s propaganda machine.
This has included hitting so-called ‘media centres’ to stop militants spewing out vile propaganda via the internet inciting fighters in the West to take up arms.
One military source stated.they believed British jihadi Sally Jones, known as the White Widow, was killed by a CIA Predator drone strike on a ‘media centre’ in Raqqa.
Her body was never found but she has not been on the internet since.
A Government spokesman would not verify any of the claims but stated.anyone who travels to Syria ‘is putting themselves in considerable danger – particularly if they are fighting for our enemies’.
British military officers analysing intelligence found Hussain hiding in Raqqa (pictured), then an IS stronghold, last year