Top Al Qaeda militant killed in US drone strike in Syria

DAMASCUS: One of Al-Qaeda`s senior leader has been killed in a US drone strike in Syria on Monday, claimed a US-based terrorism-tracking website.

The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist groups, said Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abdulrahman, the deputy to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, may have been killed in a US airstrike. It cited reports circulating on a number of social media accounts linked with the terror group.

The area where the drone strike reportedly targeted falls largely under the control of an al-Qaida-linked rebel coalition.

Images of the vehicle purported to have been carrying Abdulrahman, known more widely by his nom de guerre Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, showed damage to the passenger compartment of the beige Kia sedan but no damage to the engine block. The roof was blown open on the right side of the vehicle.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a top al-Qaeda official was killed in a drone strike, but could not confirm it was al-Masri.

Al-Masri was a close affiliate to late al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden and was once the chairman of the organization’s management council, according to a Washington Post report citing leaked US intelligence documents dating back to 2008.

Iranian authorities are believed to have jailed him following the 9/11 attacks before releasing him in a prison exchange with al-Qaida in Yemen in 2015.

There was no immediate comment from the Pentagon.

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