Sources from the Libyan Eastern city pointed out that Abu Nabil Al-Anbari, aka Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, was not killed in the strike and that the Iraqi-born IS militant was not in the town at the time of the strike. He has apparently left Libya.
Sources also indicated that 10 militants had been killed in the air-strikes which hit the militants at Fataieh and at Wadi al Khabtah and Wadi Bint, two areas used by the IS fighters to store ammunitions and weapons.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook announced Saturday that al-Anbari has been killed and that the operation occurred prior to the attacks on the French capital, Paris.
“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,” Cook said.
This is the first major US air operation against an IS leader in Libya but heralds US determination to take the Libyan crisis seriously.
“While not the first US strike against terrorists in Libya, this is the first US strike against an ISIL leader in Libya and it demonstrates we will go after ISIL leaders wherever they operate,” the Pentagon spokesman said.
The information about the killing of an IS leader in Libya came three days after the US claimed it successfully slayed IS “executioner” known as “Jihadi John.”
Also known as Mohammed Emwazi, Jihadi John who appeared in videos beheading Western hostages was reported killed in US-UK combined operation in Raqa in Syria.
The IS group was not long to respond. It posted a new video this Monday threatening to attack Washington and all the countries participating in what it called “the crusader campaign” i.e. the bombing of its positions.
The man reading out the message is named, according to the video footage, Al Ghareeb the Algerian.
He vowed that his group, which struck France at the centre of its capital, will strike America at its centre in Washington.