US drone hit kills senior Al-Qaeda leader in Syria

news
23 November 2016

A US drone strike has killed a senior Al-Qaeda leader in Syria who previously operated in Afghanistan, the Defense Department announced on Tuesday.

The 18 November strike near Sarmada in northwestern Syria targeted Abu Afghan al-Masri, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

"He had ties to terrorist groups operating throughout Southwest Asia, including groups responsible for attacking US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and those plotting to attack the West," Cook said.

Al-Masri was an Egyptian who originally joined Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and later moved to its Syrian affiliate, Cook said.

The Pentagon did not immediately provide further information about Masri, only that he had a "senior leadership role" in Al-Qaeda.

"This is someone who helped organize Al-Qaeda activities," Cook said. He "has been on our radar for some time."

A US-led coalition is striking Islamic State targets in Syria, but has also hit leaders from other groups including the Al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, which has renamed itself Fatah al-Sham.

In October, the Pentagon said a US air strike near Idlib had targeted a Nusra senior leader, Ahmed Salama Mabrouk, an Egyptian also known by his nom de guerre Abu Faraj.





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