As befits all the best practitioners of his shadowy trade, no-one is quite sure whether he is one man or many, or even simply an urban legend.And then this...
But after a string of assassinations of its local henchmen, the Islamic State's new "Caliphate" in the Libyan city of Sirte is abuzz with talk that an anti-Isil sniper is at work.
In recent weeks, no fewer than three Isil commanders in Sirte have been shot dead from long range, according to local media.
The killings - reported to be the work of a sniper who honed his skills in Libya’s uprising against Colonel Gaddafi - are said to have sowed panic among Isil's forces in the city, who have carried a string of arrests and executions in a bid to track down the culprit.
The Sirte assassin's most recent casualty, according to social media reports from Sirte, was Abdullah Hamad Al-Ansari, an Isil commander from southern Libyan city of Obari, who was shot dead on January 23 as he left a city centre mosque.
The birthplace of Libya's late Colonel Gaddafi, Sirte has been under Islamic State control since last summer, Libyan intelligence officials estimating that there may now be up to 2,000 jihadist fighters now based there.
The port city’s new masters have made brutal examples of opponents, via a regime of floggings and beheadings enforced by black-masked religious police.
Adding to the sense of intrigue is speculation that the sniper might be a American special forces soldier, some of whom are thought to be operating in the region to gather intelligence on the Isil presence.Interesting. Whoever this is (or they are) this is some hardcore stuff. Operating in an urban environment without backup or support? The skill being displayed is beyond awesome. This guy should be teaching this stuff.
Not only does he have to have intel on the targets but also have to set up a good firing position that won't be detected (in a city!), escape routes if he's noticed setting up or firing, and do all this while (yeah I'm getting redundant) not getting ratted out by some little kid, or bozo on his way to tend herd (or whatever it is they do in Libya).
This is one story that I hope we never learn the truth about...well at least while the guy or guys are in harm's way. Whoever it is they're doing work...good work. I wish them well.