Biden Admin Says It Killed A Civilian In An Air Strike After Claiming To Have Taken Out ‘Senior Al Qaeda Leader’
US President Joe Biden speaks during the "Teachers of the Year" state dinner in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, US, on Thursday, May 2, 2024. The event is meant to honor the 2024 National Teacher of the Year, as well as the State Teachers of the Year from across the country.
Credit: Photographer: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The Biden administration admitted on Thursday that it killed a civilian shepherd in a drone strike in Syria last year instead of a “senior Al Qaeda official,” as it had initially claimed. 

After a months-long investigation into a unilateral counterterrorism air strike in Northwest Syria on May 3, 2023, intended to take out a top Al Qaeda official, U.S. Central Command said in a summary of its findings that U.S. forces had mistakenly identified and taken out a civilian instead of a terrorist. 

“The investigation determined U.S. forces misidentified the intended Al Qaeda target and that a civilian, Mr. Lufti Hasan Masto (Masto), was struck and killed instead,” CENTCOM said. “Many of the facts and other findings of the investigation involve classified information and cannot be shared publicly.”

CENTCOM Commander General Michael Erik Kurilla ordered an investigation into the strike on June 6, 2023, after reports that an Al Qaeda operative had not actually been killed in the strike. The investigation was conducted by U.S. Army Brigadier General John P. Cogbill and concluded on November 15, 2023.

The investigative team included ten senior service members and civilian employees not involved with the strike, but with knowledge of intelligence, armed conflicts, and targeting operations, according to CENTCOM. 

CENTCOM said the team interviewed over 40 witnesses and visited locations in the United States, Iraq, and Jordan. The investigation came weeks after a Washington Post report raising questions about the strike. 

While the report said that the strike did kill a civilian, it said the strike was done in accordance with both international law and U.S. Military policies. 

“We are committed to learning from this incident and improving our targeting processes to mitigate potential civilian harm,” CENTCOM said. “U.S. Central Command acknowledges and regrets the civilian harm that resulted from the airstrike. We take all reports of civilian harm caused by U.S. military operations seriously and continue to employ thorough and deliberate targeting and strike processes to minimize civilian harm.”


The incident is similar to a drone strike the Biden administration made in August 2021 during President Joe Biden’s disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan where the administration claimed to have “conducted a self-defense unmanned over-the-horizon airstrike today on a vehicle in Kabul, eliminating an imminent ISIS-K threat to Hamid Karzai International airport.”

However, the administration admitted a couple of weeks later that the drone strike was a tragic mistake that killed 10 civilians, including seven children.

Create a free account to join the conversation!

Already have an account?

Log in

Got a tip worth investigating?

Your information could be the missing piece to an important story. Submit your tip today and make a difference.

Submit Tip
Download Daily Wire Plus

Don't miss anything

Download our App

Stay up-to-date on the latest
news, podcasts, and more.

Download on the app storeGet it on Google Play
The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Biden Admin Says It Killed A Civilian In An Air Strike After Claiming To Have Taken Out ‘Senior Al Qaeda Leader’