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British media unmask killer "Jihadi John" with first schoolboy photograph

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The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State (IS) apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

[LONDON] The "Jihadi John" killer who fronted Islamic State beheading videos was unmasked publicly for the first time on Friday by British media which published a photograph showing Mohammed Emwazi as a smiling schoolboy.

The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State (IS) apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians.

The Daily Mail newspaper published a schoolboy picture which it said was Jihadi John, who went on to become a menacing symbol of Islamic State brutality and one of the world's most wanted men.

Smiling and sitting cross-legged on the grass at the front of the photograph from the St Mary Magdalene Church of England primary school in Maida Vale, West London, Emwazi looks like any other British schoolboy.

The newspaper said that Emwazi, the son of a Kuwaiti minicab driver, appeared more interested in football than in Islam when a boy.

Emwazi's name was first disclosed by the Washington Post, citing unidentified former associates.

Two US government sources who spoke on condition of anonymity confirmed to Reuters that investigators believed Jihadi John was Emwazi.

REUTERS