Defense

Al Qaeda-affiliated militant leader killed in US airstrike, officials say

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An al Qaeda-affiliated militant leader was killed Monday by a U.S. airstrike in Syria, officials said.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement that its forces conducted a “kinetic strike” targeting Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a senior leader of the al Qaeda-linked Hurras al-Din.

Al Yemeni was traveling on a motorcycle at the time of the strike, which occurred in the northwestern province of Idlib, CENTCOM said. Initial reviews indicate that there were no civilian causalities.

Hurras al-Din emerged in 2018 from the militant group Hayat Thrir al-Sham, which controls a portion of northwest Syria and seeks to overtake the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The State Department designated Hurras al-Din as a specially designated global terrorist group in 2019 and has offered $5 million rewards on three of its leaders.

Two senior commanders of the group have previously been killed: Bilal Khuraisat in 2019 and Khaled Aruri in 2020, The Associated Press noted.

“Violent extremist organizations, including Al Qaeda-aligned organizations such as Hurras al-Din, continue to present a threat to America and our allies,” CENTCOM said.

“The removal of this senior leader will disrupt Al Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks against U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians around the world,” it added.

Tags Al Qaeda Bashar Assad CentCom Syria
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