US says drone strike killed senior al Qaeda leader in Syria

Washington, Oct 22 (EFE).- A drone strike by the United States in Syria Friday killed a senior al Qaeda leader, the Pentagon said.

In a statement, Central Command spokesperson Army Major John Rigsbee said that the forces carried out the airstrike in northwest Syria, killing “senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar.”

“We have no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike, which was conducted using an MQ-9 aircraft,” the spokesperson said.

Rigsbee said the death of the al-Qaeda leader “will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.”

He said al Qaeda continued to present a threat to the US and its allies and used Syria as a haven to rebuild, coordinate with external affiliates, and plan external operations.

Al Qaeda also uses Syria as a base for threats reaching into Syria, Iraq, and beyond.

The killing of the al Qaeda leader comes two days after militants attacked a US outpost in southern Syria.

However, the US army spokesperson did not specify if the drone strike was a retaliation for the attack on the outpost.

A month ago, the Central Command claimed to have killed another senior al Qaeda leader, whom it did not identify, in an aerial bombardment in the northwest.

The prolonged war in Syria has killed around half a million people since it began in 2011 with a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests. EFE


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