British Islamic State terrorist killed by drone ‘posed serious threat’

A British terrorist killed by a drone strike in Syria “posed a very serious threat to the UK” and was a “prolific recruiter and attack planner” for the Islamic State group. Reyaad Khan, along with another Briton, Junaid Hussain, “encouraged multiple operatives around the world to conduct attacks against the UK and our allies,” Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) concluded. The assessment was based on 25 intelligence reports provided to the committee and two formal intelligence assessments carried out by MI5, MI6 and GCHQ. Khan was killed by a British drone on 21 August 2015 near Raqqa. Two other men died in the strike, one of them, Ruhul Amin, was also British.

The threat he posed was ongoing and there appears to have been no realistic prospect of it diminishing

Dominic Grieve MP

The strike was exceptional because it was the first time the UK had carried out a lethal drone strike outside of a military campaign. At the time Parliament had not voted and approved British airstrikes in Syria. “It was a highly specific, targeted operation,” chair of the committee Dominic Grieve MP said. Three days later, Khan’s close associate Hussain was targeted and killed by an American drone. In evidence given to the Committee, an unnamed intelligence officer said the strikes made the UK safer. “We have not seen anywhere near the pace of operational activity that we saw from Khan and Hussein,” the intelligence officer said. “I would describe the effect of the disruption as being immediate and serious on the network.”