Washington – A senior al-Qaida leader was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Syria, the Pentagon said Friday.
The strike comes two days after a base in southern Syria, used by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group, was assaulted.
“A U.S. airstrike today in northwest Syria killed senior al-Qaida leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar,” said Central Command spokesman Maj. John Rigsbee in a statement.
There were no known casualties from the strike, he said, adding it was conducted using an MQ-9 aircraft.
“The removal of this al-Qaida senior leader will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks,” he said.
At the end of September the Pentagon killed Salim Abu-Ahmad, another senior al-Qaida commander in Syria, in an airstrike near Idlib in the country’s northwest.
He had been responsible for “planning, funding, and approving trans-regional al-Qaida attacks,” according to Centcom.
“Al-Qaida continues to present a threat to America and our allies. Al-Qaida uses Syria as a safe haven to rebuild, coordinate with external affiliates, and plan external operations,” Rigsbee said.
The ongoing war in Syria has created a complex battlefield involving foreign armies, militias and jihadis.
The war has killed around half a million people since starting in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.
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