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.
It would be highly interesting to see how this almost comic-book-like adaptation of the AGM-114 came to be. (Related: FBI Indicts Man On Most Wanted List With Terrorism Charges).
But when Special Operations forces are hunting a lone leader, the R9X now is often the weapon of choice.
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.
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. The resilience of the Qaeda branch in Syria, as well as the operations of other affiliates in West Africa, Somalia, Yemen and Afghanistan, underscores the terrorist group’s enduring threat despite Bin Laden’s death and being largely eclipsed in recent years by the Islamic State as the terrorist group of choice of global jihadis. 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 … 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. pic.twitter.com/dnckJ5PhoB, — Charles Lister (@Charles_Lister) June 24, 2020. 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. The targeted strike took place less than 10 miles from where U.S. forces recently conducted a raid that led to the death of ISIS' leader al-Baghdadi. 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.
The Khorasan Group was effectively wiped out by a series of American airstrikes several years ago. 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. 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 Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Imagery from the scene of the attack, located less than 10 miles from where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in Syria, shows what appears to be the core of the weapon and its deadly appendages. 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. Technology, performance and design delivered to your inbox. 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.
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. Badawi was the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bomb attack in 2000 that killed 17 American sailors. 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.
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