The leader of Islamic State (ISIS) in Libya has been killed in a US air strike, the Pentagon has said. Abu Nabil was targeted by US central command (Centcom) near the eastern port city of Darnah.
Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said that two F-15 fighter jets carried out the air strike which happened on Friday night, before the Paris terror attacks that killed almost 130 people. It is believed that the Iraqi national, also known as Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al-Zubaydi, was killed in the air strike along with another militant.
This is the second time that the terrorist leader has been declared dead this year. In July it was reported that Nabil had been captured by a rival Islamist group, who hanged him.
Nabil is thought to have been the spokesman in a video showing the execution of Coptic Christians published on the internet in February 2015, according to Cook. "Nabil's death will degrade Isis' ability to meet the group's objectives in Libya, including recruiting new ISIS members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States," he said.
"While not the first US strike against terrorists in Libya, this is the first US strike against an Isis leader in Libya and it demonstrates we will go after Isis leaders wherever they operate," he added.
There are three Isis factions operating in Libya: Tarablus, Fezzan and Barqah. Nabil, who was also a former Al- Qaeda leader, was in charge of the latter group. He was allegedly sent to Libya by the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi to negotiate an alliance with local terrorist cells.
The resurgent civil war in Libya has created a power vacuum which has seen Isis vying with other militant groups and the internationally recognised government for control over the oil rich nation.
Four years after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, Isis has steadily grown in Libya, and is now in control of the city of Sirte.
Nabil's death will be the second successful US airstrike in as many days after Jihadi John, real name Mohammed Emwazi, was killed in a drone strike in Syria.