Top ISIS Leader Killed by US Drone Strike in Syria

Tariq bin Tahar-Al-Awni-al-Harzi was killed on June 16.

July 2, 2015, 5:01 PM
PHOTO: The Pentagon has confirmed that Tariq al Harzi, a top ISIS leader, was killed in a US-led airstrike in Syria.
The Pentagon has confirmed that Tariq al Harzi, a top ISIS leader, was killed in a US-led airstrike in Syria.
U.S. State Department

— -- A U.S. drone strike has killed a top ISIS leader in charge of the terror group’s foreign fighter operations and moving people and supplies into Syria and Iraq.

The Pentagon confirmed Thursday that Tariq bin Tahar-Al-Awni-al-Harzi was killed in an airstrike in Syria on June 16, the day after his brother Ali was killed in another drone strike in Mosul, Iraq.

Ali bin Tahar-Al Awni-al Harzi was not only a top ISIS leader himself, but also a person of interest in the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“His death will impact ISIL's ability to integrate foreign terrorist fighters into the Syrian and Iraqi fight as well as to move people and equipment across the border between Syria and Iraq," said Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis in a statement. ISIL is another name used to describe ISIS.

A U.S. official told ABC News that the Tunisian al-Harzi was killed by a U.S. military drone strike.

“As an ISIL member, he worked to raise funds and recruit and facilitate the travel of fighters for the terrorist organization. Al-Harzi also worked to provide materiel to ISIL by procuring and shipping weapons from Libya to Syria for ISIL,” said Davis. “Additionally, al-Harzi also facilitated the use of suicide and vehicle-borne improvised explosive device attacks in Iraq.

His prominence in ISIS was why in May the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program set a $3 million reward for information leading to his death or capture.

Last week the Pentagon confirmed his brother Ali’s death in a U.S. airstrike on June 15.

Though a “person of interest” in the deadly September, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi he was targeted because he was a ISIS battlefield commander, U.S. military officials said today.

He was designated from early on as a person of interest in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Analysis of video taken the night of the deadly attack placed him at the consulate and made him a person of interest, U.S. authorities said.

He was arrested in Turkey the following month when he and another man tried to enter that country with false passports. When he was deported to Tunisia, the United States pressed to interview him about his possible role in the consulate attack.

In December 2012, FBI officials were able to interview al-Hazri but he was released by Tunisian authorities a month later.

U.S. authorities believe he had tried to make his way to Syria.

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