TRIPOLI (HAN) November 15, 2015. Public Diplomacy & regional Security. U.S. fighter jets conducted an airstrike in Libya on Friday that killed a senior ISIL leader in Libya, the Pentagon said Saturday. Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, was an Iraqi national and a longtime al-Qaeda operative, and allegedly featured in ISIL’s February 2015 Coptic Christian execution video, the Pentagon said.
“Nabil’s death will degrade ISIL’s ability to meet the group’s objectives in Libya, including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States,” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement. Cook noted that it was the first U.S. strike against a ISIL leader in Libya.
“This operation was authorized and initiated prior to the terrorist attack in Paris,” he added, referring to the deadly string of attacks Friday night that killed 129 people and injured hundreds.
The strike came a day after Pentagon’s announcement saying a U.S. airstrike likely killed ISIL militant Mohammed Emwazi, known as “Jihadi John”, who became notorious for appearances in gruesome internet videos depicting murders of ISIL prisoners.