US says it killed senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria drone strike

Death of Abdul Hamid al-Matar ‘will disrupt terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks’ – Pentagon

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

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

“A US airstrike 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 other 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 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-Qaeda 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-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, militias and jihadists.

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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About Cholo Brooks 15844 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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