U.S. Special Operations Forces used a specially designed secret missile to eliminate the head of al-Qaida’s Syria branch earlier this month, the New York Times reported.
The newspaper wrote that the weapon is a combination of medieval brutality and advanced technology.
U.S. officials and al-Qaeda representatives reported that Khaled al-Aruri, the de facto leader of an al-Qaeda affiliate called Huras al-Din, died after a drone strike in Idlib province in northwest Syria on June 14.
But the way he died was even more astounding, 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 45kg of metal pierced the roof of al-Aruri’s car. And if the high-velocity projectile itself didn’t kill it, it surely made another part of the rocket – six long blades hidden inside, which were activated a few seconds before the collision, cutting through everything it encountered on its way.
The Hellfire version, known as the R9X, was originally 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 notes.