British Special Forces hunting the killer of James Foley are using an array of sophisticated equipment to track him down – and possibly free other hostages being held.
The Mail on Sunday has been given a detailed account of how elite troops from the SAS and the Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) are conducting high-tech operations inside Syria and Iraq, which could lead to the capture of the extremists within days.
It emerged as reports suggested that British intelligence services had identified the true identity of the terrorist who beheaded Mr Foley – as seen in a video which shocked the world – known as ‘Jihadi John’.
The Mail on Sunday has been told that in the past 48 hours a ‘significant force’ of SAS soldiers and signallers have deployed to northern Iraq, joining Iraqi and Kurdish units fighting IS.
They have separated into four-man teams and are accompanying local troops in an attempt to capture British jihadis, identify them and establish links to Jihadi John.
A key suspect is 23-year-old Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary, who until a year ago lived with his family in their £1m home in the affluent London area of Maida Vale, but recently appeared on social media grasping a severed head, an anonymous government source told The Sunday Times.
Once a British jihadi is in custody, samples will be taken of the suspect’s blood and DNA – vital in the case of UK extremists because the information can be matched to medical records. For identification purposes, a photograph is also taken of the iris – the visible coloured ring around the pupil – which is unique.