Ahmad Hasan Abu Khayr al-Masri, al Qaeda’s second in command, reportedly was killed Sunday in a drone strike in Syria.
Israeli broadcaster Arutz Sheva cited unconfirmed reports saying a U.S. drone strike near al-Mastoumeh in Idlib province killed al-Masri, who has been described as the general deputy to al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Video of the aftermath was posted on YouTube by the Smart News Agency.
Al-Masri, 59, was in Iranian custody for a dozen years until 2015 when he was released and moved to Syria.
AMN Al-Masdar News called al-Masri’s death “devastating.”
Pictures of the car in which al-Masri reportedly was traveling were posted on Twitter.
The Egyptian-born al-Masri began his terrorist career as a member of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and fled the country in the mid-1980s. He fought in the Balkans in the 1990s with other Arabs in the Bosnian war and was considered an explosives expert.
Al-Masri was believed involved in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. He also spent time in Afghanistan where he took up with Zawahiri.
Al-Masri has headed al Qaeda’s political committee and been a member of the Shura Council.
When he left Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, he fled to Iran and was arrested with other senior al Qaeda leaders.
The U.S.-led coalition has been targeting the Islamic State group and other terrorists in Syria, including the Nusra Front, which has renamed itself Fatah al-Sham and broken away from al Qaeda.
Two other senior al Qaeda leaders in Syria have been killed in recent months. Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi was killed in a drone strike Jan. 17, and Abu Afghan al-Masri was killed in November.
An October strike near Idlib targeted al-Nusra senior leader Ahmed Salama Mabroup, also known as Abu Faraj. Haydar Kirkan, who had ties to senior al Qaeda leaders, was killed in another October strike.
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