Credit: Thierry Ehrmann
A British hacker, and former member of the hacking group TeaMp0isoN, Junaid Hussain (TriCk), was killed in a drone strike outside of the Syrian city of Raqqa on Tuesday.
Reports of his death started circulating Wednesday afternoon as U.S. and British officials shared the details with the media.
Hussain was recently listed as the third most important target on the U.S. ISIS kill list, due in part to his role as a recruiter for ISIS and his profile as a criminal hacker.
He fled to Syria in 2013, and was believed to be one of the leaders of Cyber Caliphate, a hacking group – if you wanted to call it that – known for promoting terrorism themes and propaganda though various account takeovers and defacements.
One example of his alleged Web-based acts includes the brief compromise of the social media accounts used by the U.S. Central Command, of which Hussain was the prime suspect.
U.S. officials also named him as a contact for one of the gunmen involved with the Curtis Culwell Center attack in May of this year.
Another attack linked to Hussain is the 2014 targeting of ISIS Critics, Raqqah is being Slaughtered Silently (RSS).
The RSS attack was designed to locate and identify the ISIS critics, who focused their work on documenting human rights abuse by ISIS elements in Syria. Citizen Lab fully documented the botched operation.
Speaking to CNN one U.S. official called Hussain a high-value ISIS target, noting that the drone strike on his vehicle was a great "intelligence success."
Early reports stated that officials had a high degree of confidence that he was killed in the strike, but noted that there was a good deal of sensitivity about the reaction from Muslim communities in the U.K. regarding a formal announcement, "because Hussain was a British citizen targeted by the U.S.
On August 18, drone strikes killed the #2 ISIS target, Haji Mutazz, making this the second drone killing in as many weeks.
In response to these latest acts, officials told CNN, ISIS leaders have been arresting and killing a number of individuals suspected of leaking intelligence related to group movements.
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