A drone strike in Syria ordered by the Biden administration may have killed a bricklayer with 10 children rather than an Al Qaeda terrorist as originally claimed, according to an official who spoke to the Washington Post.
U.S. Central Command claimed on May 3 just after the strike that it targeted a "Senior Al Quaeda leader," but officials now say they aren't confident that they hit their target.
The man who was killed, Lotfi Hassan Misto, 56, has had numerous family members and friends testify that he had been a bricklayer and had no Al Qaeda ties.
“We are no longer confident we killed a senior AQ official,” one official said, while another said, “Though we believe the strike did not kill the original target, we believe the person to be al-Qaeda.”
The incident is still under investigation and no final conclusions have been reached.
One thing that makes his connection to Al Qaeda dubious is that no one in the group celebrated his death, as would have customarily happened.
“Centcom takes all such allegations seriously and is investigating to determine whether or not the action may have unintentionally resulted in harm to civilians,” spokesman Michael Lawhorn said Thursday.
The strike occurred near Misto's home and chicken farm, and Misto was apparently tending his sheep at the location of the strike.
There are no known Al Qaeda terrorists in the area of the strike. Another group operates there and ousted Al Qaeda in 2016, according to U.S. experts.
The current group, known as HTS, has said it would arrest any Al Qaeda operatives it finds in the area.
"HTS has forbidden them from conducting any military activities. All of them are surviving underground or living on the run. They know well that HTS can arrest them at any time,” experts said.
The Biden administration is taking more steps to be transparent about drone strikes after on erroneous one in 2021 in Afghanistan killed 10 innocent civilians in an apparent attempt to kill the person responsible for the deaths of 13 U.S. soldiers during the disastrous Afghan military withdrawal.
Obviously, no one wants to kill innocent people, but Biden has already shown his administration's military incompetence during the Afghan pullout and it would be unrealistic to expect them not to make mistakes from time to time.
Wokeness in the military may be interfering with its ability to do the job well, leading to more errors and a lack of rigor among the top brass who would have ordered such an attack.