Washington: A close friend of Al-Qaeda group founder Osama Bin Laden was killed along with 11 other operatives by the United States forces during two airstrikes last week in Syria.
The Defense Department has said, Abu Hani al-Masri was killed in the second drone strike near Idlib on Saturday.
A US senior defence official told journalists yesterday, he was “a legacy Al Qaeda terrorist with ties to the group’s senior leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.”
A Department of Defense spokesman, Eric Pahon said, “These strikes disrupt Al Qaeda’s ability to plot and direct external attacks targeting the US and our interests worldwide.”
A spokesman for the Pentagon, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said, apart from him 10 Al Qaeda operatives were killed in the first strike near Idlib last week.
Masri was an Egyptian national who is reported to have fought along with Al Qaeda during the group’s earliest days.
According to a statement issued by the Defense Department, Masri oversaw the creation and operation of many Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s where he recruited and trained “thousands of terrorists who subsequently spread throughout the region and the world.”