Posted on July 16, 2018
In late December 2015 a uniformed Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Steve Warren, made a video announcement about “Operation Inherent Resolve”, the US military’s campaign against the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria. The spokesman gave details about 10 senior IS figures who had been targeted and killed, many in drone strikes, over the course of the month. “We are striking at the head of this snake by hunting down and killing ISIS leaders,” declared the US Army spokesman.
Among those killed was Siful Sujan, a Bangladeshi national who was targeted near Raqqa in Syria on 10 December. Sujan, said Col Warren, was an “external operations planner who had been educated as a computer systems engineer in Britain”. The American officer described Sujan as a key figure in IS’s “hacking efforts, use of anti-surveillance technology and weapons development. Now that he’s dead, ISIS has lost a key link between its networks,” concluded Col Warren.The impression given, with the demise of this computer engineer turned senior IS leader, was that an influential and damaging IS cell had lost its leader and its operations severely curtailed.
Now, after an investigation lasting several months and covering three continents, BBC Wales Investigates has been able to piece together how Sujan emerged from virtual obscurity to become a key player as IS established its caliphate in Iraq and Syria.