The British extremist responsible for the on-screen beheading of hostages has reportedly been identified, as MPs prepare to vote on whether the UK should join air strikes against Islamic State (IS).
FBI director James Comey is said to have confirmed that the identity of the killer – up to now only known by the nickname “Jihadi John” – has been uncovered.
However, he refused to give the individual’s name publicly.
The news came after the British Cabinet unanimously backed UK bombings raids against IS in Iraq.
Downing Street this evening released the wording of the motion that will be put before the Commons tomorrow, along with a summary of the legal justification for the intervention.
The motion text states that troops will not be deployed in “ground combat operations” against IS – also known as Isil (Islamic State of Iraq and Levant).
It also makes clear that another vote will be called if the campaign is to be extended to Syria.
The legal summary argues that the action is permissible because Iraq has requested military help to protect its “people and territory”.
Earlier this week British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said UK and US intelligence services were “getting warm” in the hunt for the jihadi with a London accent, who has so far featured in videos showing the murder of American journalists James Foley, 40, and Steven Sotloff, 31, as well as British aid worker, David Haines, 44.
The man is said to lead a small group of British jihadis who became known by hostages as “The Beatles”.
Speaking at a briefing with US journalists, Mr Comey is reported to have said: ``I believe that we have identified him, I'm not going to tell you who I believe it is.''
Asked if he would prioritise capturing the jihadist, he said: “We will do, and expend the effort that I think the American people would want us to and expect us to.