A U.S. airstrike on Friday night has killed the leader of the Islamic State group operating in Libya, the Pentagon said Saturday.
Iraqi national Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, was a “longtime al Qaeda operative and the senior ISIL leader in Libya,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.
The terror suspect was struck by a missile fired by an F-15 fighter jet.
“This operation was authorized and initiated prior to the terrorist attack in Paris,” Mr. Cook said in the statement that confirmed Nabil had been killed in the strike, the Guardian reported.
“Nabil’s death will degrade ISIL’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya,” Mr. Cook said, using an acronym for the Islamic State, “including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States.”
He said this was the first U.S. strike against an Islamic State leader in Libya, and it demonstrates the U.S. will strike Islamic State leaders wherever they operate.
News of the strike comes days after the Pentagon said it was “reasonably confident” that a Hellfire missile fired from a drone over the Syrian city of Raqqa on Thursday killed Mohammed Emwazi, the British Islamic State recruit known as Jihadi John.