US military says it killed al-Qaeda leader in drone strike

WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States (US) military said it killed a senior al-Qaeda leader in an airstrike on Friday in northwest Syria.

Spokesman for US Central Command Army Major John Rigsbee said in a statement that Abdul Hamid al-Matar was killed by a drone strike.

Rigsbee said the killing of al-Matar will disrupt al-Qaeda’s “ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians”. He said al-Qaeda “uses Syria as a base for threats reaching into Syria, Iraq and beyond”.

The drone strike came two days after a US military outpost in southern Syria was hit by a coordinated attack that included drones and rockets. US officials said no American troops stationed there were injured or killed.

The Syria national flag is displayed at a gathering at Omayyid Square in the Syrian capital Damascus, Syria. PHOTO: AP