A leading figure in Al-Qaeda, who became a prominent member of its Syrian Al-Nusra Front offshoot, was killed in a drone attack yesterday, the group and jihadist sources said.
Sheikh Abu Al-Faraj Al-Masri, who spent years in prison in his native Egypt and later left for Afghanistan, died when the vehicle in which he was travelling was hit in opposition-held Idlib in Syria’s northwest.
“May God accept him as a martyr who was killed in a Crusader raid,” said a jihadist named Abu Mohammad Al-Shami.
The US Defence Department said in a statement that Al-Masri was the target of a US airstrike near Idlib yesterday. “We are still assessing the results of the strike,” it said.
Al-Masri, 60, whose real name was Sheikh Ahmad Salamah Mabrouk, had been one of the leading companions of Al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahri in Afghanistan in the late 1980s, according to a jihadist source.
He was secretly under a CIA rendition scheme after his arrest in Azerbaijan in 1998.
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