BENGHAZI, Libya – The US military says it launched weekend airstrikes targeting and likely killing an al-Qaida-linked militant leader in eastern Libya charged with leading the attack on a gas plant in Algeria in 2013 that killed at least 35 hostages, including three Americans.
An Islamist with ties to Libyan militants, however, said the airstrikes missed Mokhtar Belmokhtar, instead killing four members of a Libyan
extremist group the US has linked to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. US officials said they are still assessing the results of the Saturday strike, but Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren said the military believes the strike was successful and hit the target. Neither US officials nor the Libyan government provided proof of Belmokhtar’s death, which likely requires a DNA test or an announcement by Belmokhtar’s group that he was killed.