A U.S. airstrike outside of Ubari, Libya killed top Al Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) leader Musa Abu Dawud on March 24, 2018.
According to a Wednesday press release from the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), Dawud specialized in training and recruiting terrorist operatives. He is also believed to have been vital in securing supplies, funding and weapons for the organization. Due to his efforts, AQIM has been able to threaten and attack the U.S. and allied interests across Africa.
While the strike was conducted on March 24, AFRICOM commanders waited to release the details until they could positively identify Dawud as being one of the two terrorists killed. During the battle damage assessment of the strike, U.S. and allied forces discovered that no civilians had been killed as a result of the blast.
The strike was part of the U.S. effort in Africa to defeat Islamic terror groups such as AQIM, Boko Haram, and ISIS-West Africa. Coordination of the strike was handled between AFRICOM officials in Germany and the Libyan Government of National Accord.
AFRICOM officials added in a statement that, “left unaddressed, these organizations could continue to inflict casualties on the civilian populations and security forces, and plot attacks against U.S. citizens and allied interests in the region.”
AQIM was originally formed in 2007 with the goal of overthrowing the Algerian government. Since then, AQIM has spread throughout the Saharan region and has recently turned its sights on European and American targets. The organization has ties to al-Shabaab, an Islamic terror group based in Somalia.