Africa US airstrike targets al-Qaeda leader in Libya

US airstrike targets al-Qaeda leader in Libya

Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar
Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar

(AA) – The U.S. military launched a “counter terrorism strike” against groups linked to al-Qaeda in Libya, the Pentagon said Sunday.

“Last night, the U.S. military conducted a counter terrorism strike against an al-Qaeda-associated terrorist in Libya,” Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said in a statement. “We are assessing the results of the operation and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.”

The target of the airstrike was Algerian Mokhtar Belmokhtar, who was leading the group’s North Africa arm, according to Warren.

“Belmokhtar has a long history of leading terrorist activities,” Warren said, adding that he “maintains his personal allegiance” to the group and “poses a continuing threat to U.S. persons.”

Belmokhtar directed attacks in In-Amenas, Algeria, in 2013  that killed at least 38 individuals from 10 countries, including three Americans, according to the statement.

Libya has been gripped by turmoil since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi four years ago.