U.S. Special Forces used a non-explosive missile with metal blades to kill an al-Qaida-affiliated leader in Syria earlier in June, The New York Times reported.
Al-Qaida officials confirmed Khalid al-Aruri, the leader of Hurras al-Din, had been killed in a Special Forces attack that used a Hellfire RX9 missile to strike the alleged terrorist’s car June 14, according to the NYT. Khalid became the leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated group in 2019, according to the United Nations Security Council. (Related: FBI Indicts Man On Most Wanted List With Terrorism Charges)
Before al-Aruri’s death, the Hellfire R9X missile had been used to kill Jamal al-Badawi in 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. Badawi was the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bomb attack in 2000 that killed 17 American sailors.
The Obama administration began developing the R9X missile, also called the ninja bomb, in 2011 to avoid killing civilians during airstrikes in the Middle East, the WSJ reported.
The missile has no exploding warhead, but extends several blades moments before impact in order to shred the intended target, according to the WSJ.
American forces have used the modified Hellfire missile to accurately target jihadists, according to Charles Lister, the director of the Middle East Institute’s Syria Program.
“The kinetic, non-explosive missile deploys razor-sharp blades to tear apart the target,” Lister said June 14.
NEW – Huras al-Din, #AlQaeda‘s affiliate in #Syria, have acknowledged & mourned the death of Khalid al-Aruri (Abu al-Qassam al-Urduni) — saying he was killed while en route to a meeting intended to form the Stand Firm ops room’s military leadership. pic.twitter.com/dnckJ5PhoB
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 24, 2020
The kinetic, non-explosive missile deploys razor-sharp blades to tear apart the target. Look at the car: pic.twitter.com/ptFCWMJwIg
— Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 14, 2020
The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation. The CIA declined to comment.
UPDATE: This post has been updated to include that the CIA declined to comment.
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