US says airstrike killed top al-Qaida leader in Libya

BENGHAZI, Libya – A U.S. airstrike last weekend in the south west of Libya killed two al-Qaida militants, including a top recruiter, the military Africa Command said.

Musa Abu Dawud, was a high official of the terror network’s North Africa branch, known as Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. His death was confirmed after “operational reporting” and “damage battle assessment” was completed, AFRICOM said in a Wednesday statement.

“He provided critical logistical support, financing and weapons to AQIM, allowing the terrorist group to threaten and attack the U.S. and Western interests in the region,” AFRICOM said. The statement did not identify the other militant killed in the attack.

The strike took place near the Libyan town of Ubari. The US army said that no civilians were killed.

Videos and pictures circulated online purporting to show the aftermath of the strike show a body on the ground, and shrapnel-filled vehicle outside a heavily damaged house. The images cannot be independently verified, but appeared to agree with the AMERICAN army on the report of the event.

In 2016, the United States, said Abu Dawud had been involved in “terrorist activities” since 1992 and labelled him a “specially designated global terrorist.” He also said that he had previously carried out attacks in Algeria and Tunisia.

Islamic extremists expanded their range in Libya after the country is plunged into chaos after the 2011 uprising that ousted and killed the old dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

In recent months, the United States has carried out air strikes targeting the Islamic State group militants in the North African country. In September, the U.S. military said the American air strikes in Libya killed 17 militants of the Islamic State group and destroyed three vehicles.

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