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Junaid Hussain: British hacker for Isis believed killed in US airstrike

NEW YORK:A US airstrike is believed to have killed a British citizen who rose to prominence within the Islamic State, officials have told the Guardian. 
The Birmingham-born Junaid Hussain, who adopted the nom de guerre Abu Hussain al-Britani, had been a key figure within Isis’ so-called “Cyber Caliphate” before being killed in the strike in Syria, where he had travelled in 2013.
After the man known as “Jihadi John,” who beheaded captured westerners while speaking in British-accented English, Hussain is considered the most prominent UK citizen to have joined Isis.
As of late Wednesday, the US had yet to officially announce Hussain’s death, which could not be independently verified, beyond saying that it had launched airstrikes against Isis in recent days.
The strike is believed to be a US military operation, rather than a CIA drone attack.
Hussain had tweeted encouragement to the gunmen who attacked a Garland, Texas “draw Mohammed” event in May minutes after word spread of Elton Simpson and Nadir Soofi opened fire.
Some US officials suspected the tweets indicated a possible Isis role in a failed shooting for which the jihadist organisation claimed credit. Any such role remains unproven.
As part of Isis “Cyber Caliphate,” Hussain is also believed to have aided Isis in obtaining the passwords of the US Central Command’s Twitter and YouTube accounts in January and briefly using them to send pro-Isis messages.
In Britain, the 21-year old Hussain had been part of the hacker group Team Poison, where, using the handle Trick, he gained access to the address book of former prime minister Tony Blair and published information from it. The hack earned him six months in jail in 2012.
That same year, Team Poison tied up the phone lines of an MI6 anti-terror hotline. “You’re being phone bombed right now, mate,” a man identifying himself as Trick said in a recording uploaded to YouTube. The man can be heard laughing and asking hotline operators if they were mad.
Hussain is believed to have fled for Syria the following year.
Word of the strike believed to have caused Hussain’s death was first reported by CNN on Wednesday.

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