Military officials say no civilians appear to be injured in the strike. A U.S. drone strike killed a "high ranking" official in the Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb terror cell in Libya on Saturday, the Pentagon disclosed Wednesday. Musa Abu Dawud was one of two AQIM terrorists killed in the airstrike in southwest Libya near the city of Ubari in the Sahara desert. "Dawud trained AQIM recruits in Libya for attack operations in the region. He provided critical logistics support, funding and weapons to AQIM, enabling the terrorist group to threaten and attack U.S. and Western interests in the region," U.S. military's Africa Command said in a statement.
The United States military carried out its first ever drone strike against Qaeda militants in southern Libya this weekend, signaling a possibly significant expansion of the American counterterrorism campaign in the North African nation. Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north -- eight since President Trump took office. In 2016, the military conducted nearly 500 airstrikes in the coastal city of Surt over several months to destroy the Islamic State's stronghold there. But the attack on Saturday that the military's Africa Command said had killed two militants -- later identified by a spokeswoman as belonging to Al Qaeda's branch in northwestern Africa -- took place in the country's southwest, a notorious haven for a deadly mix of Al Qaeda and other extremist groups that also operate in the Sahel region of Niger, Chad, Mali and Algeria. "This appears to be the continuation of expanding AFRICOM activity in Libya's ungoverned areas," said Deborah K.
BENGHAZI, Libya – The U.S. military says its airstrike last weekend in southwestern Libya killed two al-Qaida militants, including a top recruiter, Musa Abu Dawud. The military's Africa Command's Wednesday statement said Abu Dawud had trained recruits by the terror network's North Africa branch, known as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. In 2016, the United States said Abu Dawud had been involved in "terrorist activity" since 1992 and labelled him a "specially designated global terrorist." AFRICOM said he "provided critical logistics support, funding and weapons to AQIM, enabling the terrorist group to threaten and attack U.S. and Western interests in the region." AFRICOM says the March 24 airstrike near the town of Ubari didn't kill any civilians.
Since taking office, President Obama has sent U.S. troops into action on land or in the skies of seven countries on two continents. Obama's administration has authorized Navy SEALs to kill Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and approved the fatal drone strike on an American cleric in Yemen. Here is a look at targeted killings under the Obama administration. Mansour was killed when a drone strike hit his vehicle as he traveled in Baluchistan, Pakistan. Mansour, known for his mercurial leadership, had been in the U.S. military's crosshairs for years.