Representatives of the terrorist group confirmed the death of Khaled al-Aruri.
US special operations forces used a specially developed secret missile to eliminate the head of al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria earlier this month, the New York Times reported.
The newspaper writes that the weapon is a combination of medieval brutality with advanced technology.
US officials and representatives of al-Qaeda said that Khaled al-Aruri, the de facto leader of the al-Qaeda branch called Khuras al-DIN, died in a drone strike in Idlib province in northwestern Syria on June 14.
But the way he died was even more striking, the newspaper reported.
According to the New York Times, the modified Hellfire missile was equipped with an inert warhead.
It did not explode, but instead, about 45 kilograms of metal pierced the roof of al-Aruri’s car. And if the high-speed projectile itself didn’t kill it, it certainly did another part of the rocket – six long blades hidden inside that were activated seconds before impact, slicing through everything in their path.
A version of the Hellfire missile, known as the R9X, was initially developed about a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in America’s protracted wars against terrorism, the newspaper said.