When a man believed to be the notorious militant known as “Jihadi John” traveled this week through the outskirts of Raqqah, the Islamic State stronghold in Syria, U.S. drones were watching.
Three MQ-9 Reapers high overhead tracked him for more than 24 hours with infrared cameras and other sensors. U.S. officials were watching the feed from afar when he stepped out of a building around midnight Thursday and climbed into a vehicle with a driver.
With no civilians in sight, the kill order was given. Two Hellfire missiles — one, then the other — dropped from the remote-controlled aircraft's wings and streaked down from the night sky, obliterating the vehicle.
The Pentagon is...