A senior al-Qaida leader was reportedly killed in a late-night drone strike that hit his home in Libya’s remote south, a Libyan news agency said Tuesday. The strike was suspected to be the work of a Western military but a Pentagon spokesman denied it was carried out by the United States.
The LANA news agency said that Abu Talha al-Hassnawi, a key figure in al-Qaeda’s North African affiliate, was killed in his house in Sabha late on Monday.
According to the agency, al-Hassnawi was previously a leading member of al-Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, and was a leading recruiter of fighters heading to fight in Syria’s vicious and complex conflict that has seen rival al-Qaida and Islamic State militants battle each other.
Al-Hassnawi was also purportedly close to the a top militant once considered the most dangerous man in the Sahara — the one-eyed terror leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar, a former member of al-Qaida’s North Africa branch — and has been seen in his company in the past.