A suspected U.S. drone strike on Idlib’s city center has killed two senior commanders of al-Qaeda-affiliated Horas al-Din: Qassam al-Urduni and Bilal al-Sanani.
The strike targeted the commanders’ SUV as it was passing on a road in the western part of Idlib city. The SUV, a silver Hyundai Santa Fe, was struck with what appears to be two U.S.-made AGM-114R9X Hellfire missile.
The AGM-114R9X Hellfire, dubbed “Ninja Bomb,” is armed with a kinetic warhead with pop-out blades. The missile has been deployed in secret since 2017, with its existence revealed in 2019.
Pro-militant sources revealed that Qassam al-Urduni was the general military commander of Horas al-Din. Bilal al-Sanani, on the other hand, was the commander of the group’s al-Badiya [desert] Army. Both terrorists were Jordanian citizens.
In December of last year, a U.S. drone strike killed Abu Khadija al-Urduniyi, a senior Jordanian commander of Horas al-Din in northern Idlib. Abu Khadija’s SUV was also struck with an AGM-114R9X Hellfire missile.
Qassam al-Urduni, Bilal al-Sanani and Abu Khadija al-Urduniyi were reportedly former commanders of al-Qaeda’s Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham.
The assassination of al-Urduni and al-Sanani is without a doubt a serious blow to Horas al-Din. However, this attack will not likely affect the terrorist group’s influence in Greater Idlib. Recently, the group and other al-Qaeda factions formed a new operations room in the northwestern Syrian region.