Pentagon officials are claiming that a Friday airstrike launched against Libya, the first of the ongoing ISIS war, is believed to have killed Abu Nabil al-Anbari, the presumptive leader of the ISIS affiliate in the Mediterranean nation.
Officials say the strike, which involved two F-15 warplanes, was authorized and initiated prior to the Friday evening ISIS attacks in Paris, and while they called it their first strike in Libya, US warplanes actually launched another assassination strike against Benghazi back in June of last year.
Officials are touting the killing of Anbari as a major blow to ISIS operations in Libya, and one that would degrade them significantly. Indications are that Anbari was dispatched to Libya from Iraq by ISIS leadership last year, months after the Libyan group pledged loyalty to ISIS.
While there had been previous reports of ISIS dispatching a handful of “advisers” to steer the Libyan affiliate, it is unclear exactly how much their direct leadership role in the group was, meaning US predictions that this one figure’s death will dramatically change the situation on the ground seems premature. Indeed, ISIS has shown a remarkable ability to replace slain leaders without missing a step.