Pentagon officials at the time did not disclose details about the R9X’s blades. Conventional Hellfire missiles, with an explosive warhead of about 20 pounds, are often used against groups of individuals or a so-called high-value target who is meeting with other militants. It appears to be a gruesome, but stunningly effective device. Mr. al-Aruri, who was also known as Abu al Qassam, was a close companion and brother-in-law of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist who headed Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia until he was killed by an American airstrike in Iraq in 2006, according to Thomas Joscelyn, a senior editor of FDD’s Long War Journal, a website run by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that tracks military strikes against militant groups. The British Royal Air Force used inert precision-guided bombs in the opening phases of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the French Air Force did the same in Libya in 2011. Technology, performance and design delivered to your inbox. Another Syrian Terrorist Seemingly Killed By Hellfire Missile With Pop-Out Sword Blades (Updated). The CIA declined to comment. U.S. Special Forces used a non-explosive missile with metal blades to kill an al-Qaida-affiliated leader in Syria earlier in June, The New York Times reported. But when Special Operations forces are hunting a lone leader, the R9X now is often the weapon of choice. Neither munition employed the blades that the American version later would. He was a Qaeda veteran whose jihadist career dates to the 1990s. UPDATE: This post has been updated to include that the CIA declined to comment. Look at the car:, — Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 14, 2020. © document.write(new Date().getFullYear()) Acton Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Another weapon that has gained popularity is the advanced precision kill weapon system. Moscow dispatched military aid and advisers to Syria in late 2015 to support the beleaguered government of President Bashar al-Assad. Basically, anything in the radius of the blades would die. The kinetic, non-explosive missile deploys razor-sharp blades to tear apart the target. American and Qaeda officials said on Wednesday that Khaled al-Aruri, the de facto leader of the Qaeda branch, called Hurras al-Din, perished in a drone strike in Idlib in northwest Syria on June 14. Instead of exploding, it hurled about 100 pounds of metal through the top of Mr. al-Aruri’s car. It is the successor to the Khorasan Group, a small but dangerous organization of hardened senior Qaeda operatives that Ayman al-Zawahri, Al Qaeda’s leader, sent to Syria to plot attacks against the West. “The kinetic, non-explosive missile deploys razor-sharp blades to tear apart the target,” Lister said June 14. The Hellfire variant, known as the R9X, was initially developed nearly a decade ago under pressure from President Barack Obama to reduce civilian casualties and property damage in America’s long-running wars on terrorism in far-flung hot spots such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Yemen. U.S. Used Missile With Long Blades to Kill Qaeda Leader in Syria. NEW – Huras al-Din, #AlQaeda‘s affiliate in #Syria, have acknowledged & mourned the death of Khalid al-Aruri (Abu al-Qassam al-Urduni) — saying he was killed while en route to a meeting intended to form the Stand Firm ops room’s military leadership. A fuze system or direct inertia system could deploy them once the missile makes contact with a surface, as well. Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting from Hope, Maine. In 2015, Mr. al-Aruri was one of five senior Qaeda figures freed by Iran in exchange for an Iranian diplomat held in Yemen. The late 2017 drill was another step toward giving the unmanned aircraft their own air-to-air capabilities. The image at least verifies how many of us thought this system would work and fits with the few non-attributed descriptions of its general concept of operations. The standard AGM-114 flies at roughly 1,000 miles per hour. The modified Hellfire missile carried an inert warhead. The Pentagon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation. died in a C.I.A. And Al Qaeda’s second-ranking leader, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, who was also a son-in-law to Osama bin Laden, died in a C.I.A. The missile has no exploding warhead, but extends several blades moments before impact in order to shred the intended target, according to the WSJ. After the most recent known use of the AGM-114R9X Hellfire missile, a weapon that uses blades instead of explosives to kill its target with minimal collateral damage, literally smashing and slicing through them, evidence of exactly how the bizarre weapon works has come to light. The use of this type of missile falls in line with the American military’s push to use smaller munitions to kill targets, made apparent during the recent air campaigns against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in an effort to avoid civilian casualties. The Hellfire is just over five feet long, with its warhead section taking up the central area of the missile's tube-like body. Besides being Al Qaeda’s primary representative in Syria, Mr. al-Aruri was also engaged in efforts to revitalize the group’s operational presence in Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, re-engaging old networks and connections that had weakened somewhat in recent years, Mr. Lister said. WASHINGTON — American Special Operations forces used a specially designed secret missile to kill the head of a Qaeda affiliate in Syria this month, dealing the terrorist group a serious blow with a weapon that combines medieval brutality with advanced technology. A … We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites. Pentagon and C.I.A. (Related: FBI Indicts Man On Most Wanted List With Terrorism Charges). A U.S. Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle carrying a Hellfire missile similar to the one used in the strike. American officials confirmed the use of the unusual missile in two specific instances, one by the Central Intelligence Agency and one by the military’s secretive Joint Special Operations Command. This suggested that the military deliberately used an inert warhead to kill its target by high-velocity impact. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact The Obama administration began developing the R9X missile, also called the ninja bomb, in 2011 to avoid killing civilians during airstrikes in the Middle East, the WSJ reported. Intact Seeker Section From An Iron Dome Tamir Interceptor Fell Into Gaza. Al-Qaida officials confirmed Khalid al-Aruri, the leader of Hurras al-Din, had been killed in a Special Forces attack that used a Hellfire RX9 missile to strike the alleged terrorist’s car June 14, according to the NYT. This includes the increased reliance on the GBU-39, a 250-pound small-diameter bomb used extensively in the 2016 and 2017 battles of Mosul and later Raqqa. In fact, I am just as interested in all the pitches that didn't get selected considering how wild the one that did is. Special thanks to Bellingcat's Nick Waters who alerted us to this image after Twitter user @obretix came across it. Khalid became the leader of the al-Qaida-affiliated group in 2019, according to the United Nations Security Council. Badawi was the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bomb attack in 2000 that killed 17 American sailors. airstrike in Idlib Province. His release brought a highly experienced operative back to the field, and after his arrival in Syria he slowly climbed the ranks to become Al Qaeda’s military boss and then the de facto leader there. We were first to question the weapon used in the bizarre strike and now we know it has been used to strike high-value targets in five countries. Photographs of the vehicle Mr. al-Masri was said to have been traveling in revealed unusual details for such a strike: The vehicle sustained no major explosive damage, but a projectile clearly struck it directly through its roof. The US Navy Still Hasn't Formally Decided to Add Hellfires to Its Littoral Combat Ships. “Al Qaeda remains a global force with its networks and branches around the world,” Ambassador Nathan A. Secret Hellfire Missile With Sword-Like Blades Made Mysterious Strike On Terror Leader In Syria. It's likely that the service will push ahead with the upgrades, but the weapons still reflect the watering down of the ships' intended capabilities. Before al-Aruri’s death, the Hellfire R9X missile had been used to kill Jamal al-Badawi in 2019, according to the Wall Street Journal. It's unclear when exactly the blades deploy during use, but it is likely that they extend out from the missile via fairings that pop-off shortly before its flight ends or swing-out through slots in the missile's body. We definitely know there are places where these types of payloads are tested and the need for such a weapon obvious, but how such melding of old and new weaponry came to be would be fascinating to understand. Hurras al-Din was initially led by Abu Hammam al-Shami, another Qaeda veteran, but a United Nations report said last year that Mr. al-Aruri took charge of the organization at some point. The new Qaeda branch, called Hurras al-Din, emerged in early 2018 after several factions broke away from a larger affiliate in Syria., — Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 24, 2020. In less than a week, the United States has killed a number of terrorists in two separate strikes, each time using a shadowy AIM-114R9X Hellfire missile, which substitutes a … But even the use of smaller, more precise munitions has left hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians killed by American weapons during the six-year war against the Islamic State and the continuing air campaign in Afghanistan. If the high-velocity projectile did not kill him, the missile’s other feature almost certainly did: six long blades tucked inside, which deployed seconds before impact to slice up anything in its path. It would be highly interesting to see how this almost comic-book-like adaptation of the AGM-114 came to be. It transforms a small, unguided 2.75-inch rocket with a laser-guidance kit, effectively turning the weapon into an air-launched sniper round. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. An American military airstrike in Yemen in January 2019 killed Jamal al-Badawi, one of the men suspected of plotting the deadly Qaeda bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole in 2000. Special Operations forces used a secret weapon designed to limit civilian casualties to strike the Qaeda veteran this month. The weapon, first described in detail last year by The Wall Street Journal, has been used perhaps a half-dozen times in recent years, American officials said, typically when a senior terrorist leader has been located but other weapons would risk killing nearby civilians.

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