The United States may have killed a wanted terrorist through an air strike in Libya yesterday. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the target of the raid, was the mastermind behind the seizure of a Libyan gas plant in 2013, which left 38 people dead. Libyan officials claim that the airstrike killed him, but US officials have not yet confirmed.
The Libyan government released the following statement:
The Libyan government announces that the American planes undertook action that resulted in the death of the wanted terrorist Mokhtar Belmokhtar and a number of Libyans belonging to one of the terrorist groups in Eastern Libya, after consultation with the Libyan interim government to take action on terrorist leadership present on Libyan soil."
Belmokhtar is a member of Al-Qaeda and the last major jihadi figure remaining in North Africa. He has criticized fellow jihadis for leaving Al-Qaeda to join the Islamic State. The Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have each been competing to be the leading jihadist organization, and the Islamic States looks to have seized the mantle from Al-Qaeda, whose leadership structure lies in shambles.