The FBI Knows Who The ISIS Executioner Is

The masked, black-robed man known as Jihadi John, the ISIS executioner, was identified by FBI officials Thursday, marking the culmination of weeks of investigation. The name and nationality of the killer — who seemingly was behind the beheadings of photojournalist James Foley, U.S. reporter Steven Sotloff, and British citizen David Haines — has not been publicly released; nonetheless, it's a major victory for U.S. intelligence and the fight against ISIS.

Part of the group that hostages chillingly nicknamed "The Beatles," Jihadi John is believed to have appeared in all three ISIS execution videos. Left-handed, British-accented, and draped in black, the mysterious killer has ingrained himself into America's collective memory through his horrifying acts. Described by hostages as "intelligent, educated and a devout believer in radical Islamic teachings," Jihadi John also directly taunted President Obama in the second execution video, saying: “I’m back, Obama, and I’m back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State.”

On Thursday, FBI Director James Comey said they believe they know who the masked executioner is. “I believe we have identified him,” Coney said at a briefing. But the FBI didn't name the killer, say where he was from, or even confirm that it was in fact the same Jihadi John who personally beheaded Haines and the two American journalists.

Media outlets have taken their guesses, though — several British publications have suggested that Jihadi John is a London rapper called Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who is known to have joined ISIS last year. He comes from a family of cold-blooded militants: Just last week, Adel Bary's father was in New York, pleading guilty to being part of the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings in in Kenya and Tanzania.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Though identifying the ISIS executioner will surely go a long way in putting a stop to the terrorist group — and its next planned execution, of a British aid worker called Alan Henning — it's still not known for certain where the hostages are actually being held. Only last week, British foreign secretary Philip Hammond admitted that British officials hadn't pinned down the pivotal location.

In the meantime, the militants are apparently going strong — on Thursday, CNN reported that ISIS had killed at least 300 soldiers by storming a military base in Iraq. And the New York City subway is currently on high alert, after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abaci said that a plan to attack U.S. and Paris metros might be imminent.

Images: Getty Images (2)