BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:40 P.M.) – The U.S. military reportedly used a powerful missile to kill a senior leader in an Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist group in northwestern Syria two weeks ago.
In that operation, the U.S. forces used a “Ninja Hellfire” missile, in which the explosive head was replaced and long blades were installed to crush or cut the victim, while reducing the risks to any civilians nearby, according to the New York Times.
This is the second time in three months that U.S. forces have killed a prominent leader of al-Qaeda in northwestern Syria using these specially designed missiles.
Previously, the U.S. military and counterterrorism officials said that the missile strike killed Sayyaf al-Tunisi, a leader in the Hurras Al-Deen terrorist organization in the Idlib Governorate.
He was a Tunisian national who had been a prominent plotter for al-Qaeda attacks, stressing that his killing would impede the terrorist organization’s operations.
The CIA developed this missile, known as the R9X, nearly a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in the United States’ long-running wars on terrorism in remote hotspots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia, and Yemen.