An American military drone strike over the weekend in southern Libya killed a top recruiter and logistics specialist for Al Qaeda's branch in northwest Africa, the Pentagon said on Wednesday, and a senior military official warned of more attacks on extremists there. The military's Africa Command said in a statement that the attack killed two militants, one of whom was identified as Musa Abu Dawud, a high-ranking official in Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, known as AQIM. Mr. Dawud trained Qaeda recruits in Libya for strike operations in the region, and provided logistics, money and weapons that enabled the group to threaten and attack American and Western interests, the military statement said. Until now, the Pentagon had focused its counterterrorism strikes in Libya -- eight since President Trump took office -- almost exclusively on Islamic State fighters and operatives farther north. Over several months in 2016, the military conducted nearly 500 airstrikes in the coastal city of Surt to destroy the Islamic State's stronghold there.
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.
Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 7 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com The U.S. military believes the unarmed drone that went missing over the Libyan capital last month was actually shot down by Russian air defenses. The U.S. Africa Command is demanding the return of the aircraft's wreckage, which had been part of an operation conducted in Libya to assess the area's security and monitor for violent extremist activity. The command didn't give a reason for the drone loss after the Nov. 21 incident, but they had been investigating, Reuters reported.
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.