US confirms death of top Islamic State leader in Derna

Reuters with Libya Channel 

The United States on Monday confirmed the death of the Islamic State’s senior leader in Libya, known as Abu Nabil, who was targeted in a Nov. 14 U.S. air strike carried out by F-15 aircraft on a compound in the city of Derna.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis also confirmed that a senior leader of the al Qaeda-affiliated group al Shabaab was killed in a U.S. military air strike in Somalia carried out on Dec. 2. The Pentagon named him as Abdirahman Sandhere, also known as “Ukash,” and said the strike represented a significant blow to the group.

The F-15 fighter jet attack in Libya occurred in the early hours of the morning of the 14 November local time on IS positions to the south-west of Derna, eyewitnesses on the ground told Libya Channel.

The target was Abu Nabil, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, an IS spokesman who appeared in a February propaganda clip showing the grisly execution of 21 Christians from Egypt,  Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook confirmed last month.

Sources close the jihadis in Derna told Libya Channel that Abu Nabil was a major “international connection” for IS and had been more commonly known by his nickname “Al-Anbari”, referencing the western province in Iraq where is believed to be from.

 “He is one of the main international connections for IS and has been since he arrived in Derna over a year ago,” the source said.
Abu Nabil became a prominent figure in IS after local jihadi groups pledged allegiance to IS emir Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi last October, the source added. It’s unconfirmed if he was sent to Derna to establish IS there.

IS launched its Libya affiliate in Derna last October. The group suffered a temporary set back in June when rival extremists drove it out of its stronghold and into the countryside surrounding the eastern town.They shifted their main operations to Sirte, in the centre of the country, where they have implemented strict interpretation of Sharia Law and staged other bloody massacres of anti-jihadi rebels, perceived apostates and Christians.

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