US targeted ISIS leader in Libya Friday night, likely killed him

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Saturday, November 14, 2015

WASHINGTON (WABC) -- A senior U.S. official confirmed that an American airstrike has likely killed a top Islamic State leader in Libya.

The official said the airstrike struck a command center near the eastern port city of Darnah and likely killed Abu Nabil and others with him. Officials are still assessing the results of the strike but called Nabil's death strongly probable.

The official says the strike by an F-15 fighter jet had been planned for some time and the aircraft were already in the air when the terrorist attacks began in France.

According to ABC News, the airstrike targeting Abu Nabil is especially significant because it appears to be the first U.S. airstrike targeting an ISIS figure outside of Syria or Iraq.

A new Pentagon statement also indicates that Nabil was the ISIS spokesman in the grisly Coptic Execution video from February.

"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," said a statement from a Pentagon spokesman. "While not the first U.S. strike against terrorists in Libya, this is the first U.S. strike against an ISIL leader in Libya and it demonstrates we will go after ISIL leaders wherever they operate."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.