A New Zealander killed by a United States drone strike in Yemen has been named by an Australian newspaper as Daryl Jones.
He was identified by The Australian, which said Jones was married with children. According to those who knew him he had lived in Sydney and attended Australia’s largest mosque, the Lakemba Mosque in southwest Sydney.
Jones, who had dual New Zealand and Australian citizenship, was killed last November in a US Predator drone strike on a convoy of al Qaeda militants in Yemen. He was not the target of the strike.
Jones reportedly went by the name of “Muslim bin John” and fought under the name “Abu Suhaib al-Australi”.
The Australian said Jones had reportedly contacted his family from Dubai in May last year.
In a Facebook post about the drone deaths, a Sydney man said: “I’m told that one of the brothers being spoken about in the article is brother Daryl Jones, a convert brother who use to frequent Lakemba mosque a few years ago,” The Australian reported.
“The brother was so humble. He was soft-spoken and gentle, you could really easily get along with him.”
Another man replied: “Muslim [Daryl Jones] was one of the best Muslims I have ever known. Allah accept him as a Shaheed [martyr]. Allah aid and assist his wife and children.”
Another post, believed to be referring to the dead man, said “Daryl Jones, also known as Muslim” had gone missing in 2012.
According to the October 2012 post by the Revert Muslims Association: “He last called his family in May earlier this year from Dubai.
“He was going to fly back to New Zealand. There hasn’t been contact since.”
The Australian said it understood Jones had attracted the attention of counter-terrorism authorities while in Sydney, mainly because of the company he kept, but he was never a person of interest.
Prime Minister John Key has refused to identify him.
When the death came to light a fortnight ago Key said he had known for quite some time the then-unnamed New Zealander was in Yemen and had terrorist connections.
Key said he had been told by New Zealand intelligence agencies late last year that it was highly likely the man had been killed, though it took time for DNA testing to provide confirmation of the identity.
The man, who was born in New Zealand, had family here and they were advised some time ago that he had been killed, Key said when the news of the death broke.
The incident was the first known killing of New Zealand or Australian citizens in a US drone strike.
Australian citizen Christopher Harvard was also killed in the strike along with three other men.