U.S. Special Operations forces, with no fanfare, killed a top Qaeda leader in northwest Syria in an unusual drone strike nearly two weeks ago.

They used a secretive weapon — a so-called Ninja Hellfire missile on which the explosive warhead is replaced by long blades to crush or slice its victim while minimizing risks to any civilians nearby. It was the second time in three months that American commandos have killed a senior Qaeda leader in northwest Syria with these specially designed missiles…

Instead of exploding, it hurls about 100 pounds of metal through the top of a target’s vehicle. If the high-velocity projectile does not kill the target, the missile’s other feature almost certainly does: six long blades tucked inside, which deploy seconds before impact to slice up anything in its path.