A team of top FBI agents have been secretly at work inside England, hot on the trail of the terrorist known as “Jihadi John,” the British-accented, masked executioner who appears in the sickening ISIS videos showing the beheading murders of U.S. journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff.
The FBI agents have been working closely with their British counterparts to identify the ISIS terrorist and may be ready to move on a network of his accomplices throughout England, according to reports in the English press.
“It has been a co-ordinated effort to track down the support network around the British Islamic State executioner. Our inquiries have given us leads across the country,” a United States source told the Mirror newspaper.
The source said that the FBI and Scotland Yard team are “99.9 percent certain now as to who ‘John’ is.”
The source said that the investigators could be just days away from revealing the killer’s identity to the world, but for now they must “tread softly in charting and approaching his wider network in the U.K.”
Earlier media reports have named a former London rap musician, Abdel-Najed Abdel Bary, as the top suspect in the hunt for Jihadi John, but no official sources have confirmed or denied that 23-year-old Abdel Bary is the man they are looking for.
Abdel Bary is the son of a former top aide to now-dead Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, and is said to have fled his London home for Syria to join ISIS within the the past two years.
“Jihadi John” received his alias from former hostages who said they were held captive by a group of British ISIS terrorists who were dubbed “The Beatles” in honor of their national origin. A British-accented terrorist who used the name “John” was the apparent ringleader of the hostage-holding group.
The FBI expects to arrest about a dozen “hardened extremists with a jihadist background” in the city of Birmingham and other areas of the U.K., The Birmingham Mail reported Sunday.
Those arrests could be “imminent,” the paper reported.
Investigators say that the identification of “Jihadi John” was aided by sophisticated facial recognition technology that used only the eyes of the terrorist, which were visible in the beheading videos, to create an image of his entire face.