Islamic State Group: US Airstrike Kills Leader of Affiliate Branch in Libya, Department of Defense Says:
Wisam al Zubaidi died Friday in a U.S. airstrike, the Pentagon said. The strike was apparently unrelated to the terror group’s claim of orchestrating the strikes of Friday in Paris.
Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the strike happened on Friday and targeted Wisam al Zubaidi, also called Abu Nabil al-Anbari, who controls what’s the Islamic State’s most powerful division beyond Iraq and Syria, based on U.S. intelligence officials. Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi dispatched to Libya in 2014 the former Iraqi police officer to build up the group’s affiliate there.
Zubaidi was a senior Islamic State operative in Iraq prior to going to Libya.
In a statement, Cook said that Zubaidi may have become the spokesman in a grisly video this year that showed the killing of 21 Egyptian Christians on a shore in Libya.
Defense officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to talk about specifics of the operation, said the strike involved two U.S. F15 aircraft that hit a little compound outside of Derna, a militant stronghold in eastern Libya. Several other individuals were in an identical building in the time of the strike, officials said.
The strike was considered to get killed Zubaidi while officials are still evaluating effects of the operation.
The Islamic State has claimed liability for the coordinated assaults in Paris.
Friday’s airstrike was the very first time that America has attacked an Islamic State operation beyond Iraq and Syria that U.S. officials consider is under the order and control of the core organization’s leadership.
In Libya, the existence of Zubaidi, before traveling to North Africa, who headed Islamic State operations in central Iraq, indicated a distinct degree of link, officials said.
Intelligence officials say the Islamic State is a hybrid vehicle operation in Libya, that have felt disenfranchised in the past few years following the 2011 war or directed partially by foreign combatants and partially by Libyans with extremist sympathies.
Senior militants in Libya seem to possess drawn from the encounter the group has obtained during its increase across Syria and Iraq, using a lot of the exact same propaganda and enforcement measures to bring discipline the neighborhood citizenry and followers.
Derna, much to the east of Sirte, isn’t commanded by the Islamic State but has for a long time been a sanctuary for Islamists.
The Islamic State has been able to flourish in Libya in substantial part due to the political instability of the state four years after its revolution. Since this past year, Libya has had two authorities vying for legality and resources. But neither can enforce security across the vast desert country or control a sprawling array of criminal groups, militant cells, smugglers and militias.