Top Al Qaida leader reported killed by U.S. air strike in Syria

Special to

Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

A Syrian group reported the death of a commander who was a close associate of Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri.
Al Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

A militant commander who was close to Al Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri and helped lead its Al-Nusra Front offshoot in Syria was killed in a drone attack on Oct. 3, the group said.

The Pentagon confirmed on Oct. 3 that it had targeted a “prominent Al Qaida leader in Syria” who headed the extremist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the Al-Nusra Front, but it did not name the official.

The group said on Twitter that Sheikh Abu al Faraj al-Masri, who spent years in prison in his native Egypt on charges of plotting with fundamentalist Islamist groups and later left for Afghanistan, died when the vehicle in which he was traveling was hit in rebel-held Idlib in Syria’s northwest.

Last month, Abu Hajer al-Homsi, the group’s top commander, was killed in an air strike in rural Aleppo Province.

Masri, 60, whose real name was Sheikh Ahmad Salamah Mabrouk, became one of the leading companions of Zawahri in Afghanistan after being released from prison in Egypt.

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