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US’s secret ‘Ninja Bomb’ takes out Al Qaeda terrorist in Syria: reports

An AGM-114 HELLFIRE missile sits in its storage container Feb. 5, 2019, at the Naval Weapons Station in Goose Creek, S.C. A cache of the missiles underwent routine maintenance and inspection procedures to ensure their reliability on the battlefield. (Airman 1st Class Joshua R. Maund/U.S. Air Force)
December 05, 2019

The United States military has possibly killed one, maybe two, terrorists in northwestern Syria in an airstrike with a unique type of bomb which does not detonate like a conventional bomb, but instead explodes with extendable blades for precision and less civilian casualties.

The strike reportedly accorded in Atmeh, Syria, which is less than five miles away from the Turkish border and 10 miles away from where the U.S. forces killed  ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Business Insider reported.

The weapon used was a specialized variant of the Hellfire missile, known as the AGM-114R9X, The Drive reported. Instead of using the warhead found on standard models, it substitutes it for a set of folding sword-like blades for minimum collateral damage and precision.

According to the Drive, some U.S. unmanned aircraft like the MQ-9 Reapers carry Hellfire missiles and have carried out targeted strikes in the northwestern region of Syria.

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The R9X has been used covertly, and rarely, against targets in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere since 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The warhead of an R9X contains six blades designed to deploy in the seconds before impact to tear through its target, leaving little peripheral or unintended damage, unlike exploding missiles.

The 5-foot long, 100-pound missile is nicknamed “Ninja bomb” and “the flying Ginsu,” which is a reference to popular knives sold in the 1970s and 1980s marketed as being capable of cutting through almost anything from trees to vegetables.

The Hellfire missile used did not explode on impact with the car. Rather, the missile tore through the side of the vehicle and crushed the alleged terrorist inside.

It is unclear based on the time of publication if the one or two individuals in the vehicle were terrorists, but at least one person kill was reportedly a part of Hayat Tahrir Al Sham, or HTS, which is a group that splintered from Al Qaeda in Syria in 2017.

The strike is similar to a 2017 attack that killed Abu Khayr Al Masri, then Al Qaeda’s number two leader, while he was driving in his car in Al Mastouma, Syria.