Saturday, 20 January, 2018

US Drone Strike Kills Top al-Qaeda Figure in Syria

Drone Attack US Drone Strike Kills Top al-Qaeda Figure in Syria
Melinda Barton | 01 March, 2017, 00:42

Al-Qaeda's second-in-command has reportedly been killed in a USA military drone strike in northwestern Syria, and jihadists are already online posting their eulogies for Abu al-Khayr al-Masri.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the USA drone struck near a military base in al-Mastoumeh, in the Idlib countryside.

Al-Masri's last affiliation before his death was with Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, formerly know as the al-Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda affiliate in Syria that split from the core group in 2016 with the approval of Al Qaeda leader al-Zawahiri.

Also in the country's northwest, at least 13 people were killed in raids believed to have been carried out by Syrian regime planes in Ariha, the Observatory said.

The deputy leader of al-Qaeda was the target of an air strike in the Syrian province of Idlib on Sunday, according to unconfirmed reports.

Al-Masri, a son-in-law of late Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, was implicated in the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in which more than 200 people, mostly civilians, died.

According to the statement, strikes conducted near Idlib on February 3 and 4 killed 11 al-Qaida operatives.

If the death of Abu al-Khair al-Masri is confirmed it would be a major blow to the terror group and the biggest loss to its leadership since the killing of Osama bin Laden in 2011.

U.S. intelligence believe Masri was involved in the 1998 bombings of USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Reports coming in from Syria confirms the death of the 59-year-old Egyptian, including a post from Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute.

The US government designated Masri to be an al-Qaeda associate in October 2005, saying he "was responsible for coordinating al-Qaeda's work with other terrorist organisations".