The Pentagon has retracted its claim that an al-Qaida commander was killed by a U.S. airstrike in May.
U.S. Central Command said previously that a man who was killed in a hellfire strike on May 3, Syria, in Qorqanya (Idlib Province) was a senior al Qaeda leader. The Pentagon is now investigating the matter after the family of the man claimed that he was a bricklayer who had been wrongly targeted by America.
CENTCOM initially stated that it “conducted a single strike… against a senior Al Qaeda Leader.” However, one official told The Washington Post mid-May that they were “no more confident” about the fact that the person who was killed, was an al-Qaida member. Separately, a second official stated that they were not confident the target they targeted was the senior al Qaeda leader they wanted to strike but they still believed it could have been an al Qaeda member.
Lotfi Misto’s family told the Associated Press in the days following his death, that he had been a farmer for many years who raised chickens, cattle, and no militant groups. Mohamed Masto said that allegations about his brother being in the terrorist group were “absolute liars” and described their killing as “injustice and aggression”. Others described him as former bricklayer, father of 10, and a farmer.
The White Helmets civil defense group, based in northern Syria found Misto and three of his animals dead, according to AP.
The Pentagon’s investigation of the incident is not complete. In May, a CENTCOM spokesman stated that U.S. troops are still working to identify who was killed during the strike. Pentagon has also not revealed who the initial target of the attack was.