On Saturday, two F-15 fighter jets deployed several 500-pound bombs on a specific target in Ajdabiya, an eastern town in Libya.
The U.S. military, working with Libyan officials, was targeting a terrorist leader, Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Libya gave the U.S. military permission to take action after consulting with the Libyan government to ensure that the intelligence was accurate. A government official in Libya stated that the airstrike was authorized and came after several attacks on the country’s citizens by the group that was headed by Belmokhtar. One of the attacks by the terrorist group targeted a hospital.
Belmokhtar was charged by the U.S. with conspiring to support al-Qaeda and for the use of a weapon of mass destruction. He was also charged with conspiracy to take hostages as well as discharging a firearm. Official terrorism charges were filed in 2013.
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It was believed that Belmokhtar had connections to the Algerian attack on a gas plant that claimed the lives of 35 hostages, including three Americans.
The airstrike on Saturday comes on the heels of a declaration of holy war last week. The Islamic government of Libya praised its victory over the al-Qaeda extremist group when one of the group’s leaders was shot and killed by a masked gunman.
Authorities offered a $5 million reward for any information that would lead to the arrest of the terrorist leader. Belmokhtar also went by the name of “the one-eyed sheik.” He originally belonged to the Islamic Maghreb, a North African organization that fell under the umbrella of al-Qaeda. He left them and started his own al-Qaeda group.
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While the U.S. military and Libyan officials are still reviewing the evidence, the military is confident that the strike was successful.
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