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UK authorities linked 'Jihadi John' to militant killed by U.S. drone

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - British authorities have linked Mohammed Emwazi, a Londoner identified by U.S. national security sources as Jihadi John, the knife-wielding militant who appeared in videos depicting the beheadings of western hostages, to another British militant killed in Somalia in a U.S. drone attack.

A British court ruling dated December 2011 reported that Emwazi was an associate of Bilal al Berjawi, a leader of the Somali-based militant group al Shabaab, a person in possession of the court ruling said. Media reports said he helped supervise the recruitment and training of new Shabaab members.

Berjawi was wounded in a 2011 air strike on an al Shabaab base. That same year, British authorities revoked his British citizenship. British officials declined to comment on the case.

In January 2012, Berjawi was killed in a U.S. drone strike outside Mogadishu.

According to a biographical article published in 2013 by the Combatting Terrorism Center, a research unit affiliated with the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, Berjawi was a Lebanon-born, British-educated man born in Beirut in September 1984 whose parents brought him to the United Kingdom as a child.

The article said Berjawi went to Somalia before al Shabaab was officially created and later “rose through the ranks of al-Shabaab and the foreign fighter cell linked to al Qaeda” to become a figure who was reportedly second only to the head of al Qaeda’s East Africa operations, Fazul Abdullah Mohammad.

Editing by Giles Elgood