U.S. Strikes Take Out Top ISIS Operative Who Was Leading Jihadists in Libya
The Pentagon has announced that airstrikes on ISIS/ISIL in Libya on Saturday were successful in killing the prime target in the first attack the U.S. has conducted against the terror group outside Iraq or Syria.
The target was Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, a longtime Al Qaeda operative and the Islamic State leader in Libya.
Although the strike followed closely on the heels of the coordinated terror attacks at a sports stadium, concert venue and café on a busy Friday night in Paris, the Pentagon claims the two were unrelated.
The U.S. military also confirmed that a drone attack over the Syrian city of Raqqa “probably” killed the British-Arab known as “Jihadi John,” who was allegedly seen in ISIS videos showing the beheading of captives.
“Jihadi John” was nicknamed by hostages who called their four captors “The Beatles” because they had English accents.
“It demonstrates we will go after ISIL leaders wherever they operate,” said Peter Cook, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.
ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is the acronym for one of the names the terrorist group uses, which encompasses a broader region than ISIS, which refers only to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
U.S. officials suspect that Zubaydi was the spokesman in the video of the beheading of 21 Coptic Christian Egyptians on the Mediterranean shore in February.
If Zubaydi’s death is confirmed, the Pentagon says it “will degrade ISIS’s ability to recruit new members, establish bases in Libya and plan external attacks on the United States.”
The terror attacks in Paris the night before the U.S. airstrikes in Libya left 129 people killed and 352 injured with nearly 100 of them injured critically.
French authorities are currently conducting a massive manhunt for a Syrian suspect they believe holds an emergency passport issued in Greece in October.
The island of Leros in the Aegean is the entry point for thousands of Syrian refugees as they attempt to gain access to Europe.
It is widely believed that Islamic militants are also gaining entry by mingling with the refugees posing as legitimate asylum seekers.