DAMASCUS – A top commander of the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in Libya has been killed in a U.S. airstrike, the Pentagon announced on Saturday.
Abu Nabil, aka Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, was reportedly killed in a U.S. airstrike.
“Abu Nabil, an Iraqi national, was a long-time al-Qaida operative,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
He had recently started leading ISIS military operations in Libya.
“This operation was authorized and initiated prior to the terrorist attack in Paris,” the Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.
“On 13 November, the US military conducted an airstrike in Libya against Abu Nabil, Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, an Iraqi national who was a long-time al-Qaida operative and the senior (ISIS) leader in Libya.”
“Reporting suggests Abu Nabil may also have been the spokesman in the February 2015 Coptic Christian execution video,” the statement added, referring to a video which showed the beheading of 21 Egyptian Copts.
“Nabil’s death will degrade (ISIS’s) ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya, including recruiting new members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States,” Cook said.
“While not the first US strike against terrorists in Libya, this is the first US strike against an (ISIS) leader in Libya and it demonstrates we will go after (ISIS) leaders wherever they operate.”
Reporting by: Laila Majdalawi
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