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. He was a Qaeda veteran whose jihadist career dates to the 1990s.
How he died was even more striking.
The modified Hellfire missile carried an inert warhead. Instead of exploding, it hurled about 100 pounds of metal through the top of Mr. al-Aruri’s car. 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.
US drone over Idlib, Syria, carried out a strike on a car using the secretive R9X “ninja” missile, a modified version of a Hellfire missile that uses blades to kill instead of a warhead. The missile sliced through the passenger side of an Al-Qaeda car https://t.co/JVD0spVKK0 pic.twitter.com/h9zLc4IQA2— Adam Milstein (@AdamMilstein) June 14, 2020
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. (end of excerpt)
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