The US-led coalition in Syria is believed to have used a “secret,” highly advanced missile filled with knives to take out two al Qaeda commanders in the country over the weekend.
The weapon, dubbed the “ninja bomb,” fatally struck the two terrorist leaders — Jordanian Qassam ul-Urdini and Yemeni Bilal al-Sanaani — in their SUV as they traveled through northwestern Syria Sunday night, according to a Fox News report.
But the modern projectile managed to leave the vehicle shockingly untouched in the attack. Video circulating from the scene appears to show the targeted SUV with a caved-in roof and damaged front windshield, with the blast leaving several of the vehicles’ tinted windows perfectly intact.
The 100-pound missile, formally named the Hellfire R9X, doesn’t explode and instead relies on six knives that are stored inside and spring out moments before impact, The Wall Street Journal reported when it first revealed the weapon last May.
Analysts have speculated that the missile was used in the attack based on the condition of the SUV.
“The result [of the R9X] is a much smaller kill radius, which can limit the damage caused by the missile to the intended target area,” Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) told Fox News.
A US strike kills a notable al-Qaeda leader in Syria. A video of the car he was in. pic.twitter.com/5qtVukN5O1 modern weapons!
— Hassan Hassan (@hxhassan) June 14, 2020
“Such a feature is increasingly needed for counterterrorism campaigns, where the fighting is closer-in, and the environment around the target is more dense and likely to be filled with non-combatants.”
The weapon can be incredibly precise, limiting unintended casualties, but also requires “extraordinarily accurate intelligence” to be deployed, the Journal reported.
The CIA and Defense Department began developing the R9X in 2011 and have kept its existence tightly under wraps, the paper said. Experts have only pointed to several attacks against terrorists since 2017 where they believed the missile was used.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has accused the US-led coalition, which has been battling extremists in Syria and the Levant for years, of carrying out Sunday’s attack via drone strike.
The men killed were high-ranking commanders of the al Qaeda-linked Horas al-Din group, Arabic for “Guardians of Religion.”
With Post wires
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