Statement from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook on U.S. strike in Libya
On November 13, the U.S. military conducted an airstrike in Libya against Abu Nabil, aka Wissam Najm Abd Zayd al Zubaydi, an Iraqi national who was a longtime al Qaeda operative and the senior ISIL leader in Libya.
Reporting suggests he may also have been the spokesman in the February 2015 Coptic Christian execution video. Nabil's death will degrade ISIL's ability to meet the group's objectives in Libya, including recruiting new ISIL members, establishing bases in Libya, and planning external attacks on the United States.
While not the first U.S. strike against terrorists in Libya, this is the first U.S. strike against an ISIL leader in Libya and it demonstrates we will go after ISIL leaders wherever they operate.
We will provide additional information as and when appropriate. This operation was authorized and initiated prior to the terrorist attack in Paris.