U.S. Central Command: Civilians may have been killed in drone strike targeting al-Qaeda leader

This picture taken 26 December 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC. The Pentagon, which is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), is the world's largest office building by floor area, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. AFP PHOTO (Photo by STAFF / AFP) (Photo by STAFF/AFP via Getty Images)

This picture taken 26 December 2011 shows the Pentagon building in Washington, D.C. (Photo by STAFF/AFP via Getty Images)

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UPDATED 4:12 PM PT – Saturday, December 4, 2021

U.S. Central Command confirmed civilians may have been killed in a drone strike targeting a senior al-Qaeda leader and planner in Syria.

On Saturday, a spokesperson from Central Command told the Military Times the target was killed, however, their name has not been released following Friday’s strike. Officials said a full investigation has been launched into the allegations of innocent lives killed.

“U.S. forces conducted a kinetic strike near Idlib, Syria, Dec. 3, targeting a senior al-Qaeda leader and planner,” Central Command spokesperson Captain Bill Urban said in a statement. “The strike was conducted using a precision strike method from MQ-9 aircraft.”

The mission comes shortly after the Pentagon admitted a drone strike in March of 2019 killed civilians in Syria, which is now under investigation. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin recently ordered a renewed investigation into the matter.

In the meantime, officials said results of the investigation into the strike would be released “when appropriate.”

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