A leader of ISIS's branch in Libya was struck and presumed killed by a U.S. airstrike Friday night, a defense official told NBC News.
The terror suspect was struck by a missile fired by an F-15 fighter/bomber. The official said the operation began before the Paris attacks and was not related to that event.
Kevin Baron, editor of Defense One and a national security analyst for NBC News, said the man goes by the nom de guerre Abu Nabil.
Baron said the strike would be "a significant blow to the Islamic State’s ambitions" in North Africa.
Nabil, a longtime al Qaeda operative from Iraq, is believed to have been a spokesman in an ISIS video released in February showing the execution of kidnapped Egyptian Coptic Christians, the Pentagon said.
"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,” Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in a statement, using another name for ISIS.
ISIS on Saturday claimed responsibility for a series of coordinated terror attacks in Paris Friday that left at least 129 people dead.