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Senior Al Qaeda leader killed in US drone strike in Syria — Pentagon

Air strike in northwest Syria killed Abdul Hamid Al Matar

By AFP - Oct 23,2021 - Last updated at Oct 23,2021

People walk past debris at the site of shelling in the Syrian town of Ariha in the rebel-held northwestern province of Idlib on Wednesday (AFP photo)

WASHINGTON — A senior Al Qaeda leader was killed in a US drone strike in Syria, the Pentagon said on Friday.

The strike comes two days after a base in southern Syria, used by the US-led coalition fighting the Daesh group, was assaulted.

"A US air strike today in northwest Syria killed senior Al Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid Al Matar," said Central Command spokesman Army Major 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 Qaeda senior leader will disrupt the terrorist organisation'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 Qaeda commander in Syria, in an air strike near Idlib in the country's northwest.

He had been responsible for "planning, funding, and approving trans-regional Al Qaeda attacks", according to Centcom.

"Al Qaeda continues to present a threat to America and our allies. Al Qaeda 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 and militias.

The war has killed around half a million people since starting in 2011.

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