A report indicates U.S. military officials are now walking back claims a recent Syria drone strike killed an al-Qaeda terrorist and may have in fact killed a bricklayer father of 10 who had been tending to his sheep.
The attack occurred on May 3 in a quiet town in northwest Syria when a drone strike killed 56-year-old Lotfi Hassan Misto, a former brick layer and father of 10 whose “whole life was spent poor,” according to his family.
Officials believed he was a “senior al-Qaeda leader,” but they now doubt that claim.
“We are no longer confident we killed a senior AQ official,” one official told the Washington Post.
Another anonymous official added, “the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda.” Michael Lawhorn, a spokesman for Central Command, said the claim of a civilian casualty will be thoroughly investigated.
Terrorism experts told the Post they doubt Misto had any connections to al-Qaeda due to the lack of celebration over his death from senior members, who would be hailing him a martyr. Not even his own family have hailed him as such.
Likewise, Rita Katz, executive director of SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks terrorist activity, said that she could not find any online chatter linking Misto to the terrorist group. Charles Lister, the director of Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism at the Middle East Institute, agreed.
The Biden administration infamously killed an innocent man and several children in 2021 after a suicide bombing killed American soldiers fleeing Afghanistan in the final days of that war.