Washington: The US Ministry of Defense on Tuesday confirmed that a senior Al Qaeda leader was killed in a US air strike near Sarmada, Syria, last week.
Abu Afghan Al-Masri, an Egyptian who joined Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and later moved to Syria, died on November 18, media quoted Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook as saying. “He had ties to terrorist groups operating throughout Southwest Asia, including groups responsible for attacking US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and those plotting to attack the West,” said Cook.
The US has carried out sporadic strikes in the past against veteran Al-Qaeda members who migrated to northwestern Syria from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Earlier this month, US President Obama ordered the Pentagon to deploy more drones and intelligence assets against an Al-Qaeda-linked military group in Syria, formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra and now called Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, or Front for the Conquest of Syria. The move highlights Obama’s concern that it is turning parts of Syria into a new base of operations for Al-Qaeda on Europe’s southern doorstep.
During his campaign, US President-elect Donald Trump said he would be even more aggressive in going after militants than Obama.