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Drone strike targets leader of al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria, US says

US military ‘highly confident’ it killed insurgent, who was hit while alone on motorcycle, in second operation this month against senior terror figures in Syria

Illustrative: Reported footage from the scene of an alleged US drone strike in eastern Syria, on July 18, 2021. (Screenshot/Twitter)
Illustrative: Reported footage from the scene of an alleged US drone strike in eastern Syria, on July 18, 2021. (Screenshot/Twitter)

WASHINGTON — The US military said it carried out a “kinetic strike” targeting a leader of the Hurras al-Din jihadist group, an al-Qaeda affiliate, in the Syrian province of Idlib on Monday.

“Abu Hamzah al Yemeni was traveling alone on a motorcycle at the time of the strike,” US Central Command said in a statement, adding that an “initial review indicates no civilian casualties.”

“The removal of this senior leader will disrupt Al-Qaeda’s ability to carry out attacks against US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians around the world,” Centcom said.

The US is “highly confident” that the strike, carried out from a drone, killed Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a US official with knowledge of the operation told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The strike was the second US operation in June to target a senior jihadist in Syria.

US forces captured Hani Ahmed Al-Kurdi, a leader of the Islamic State (IS) group, on June 16 during a raid in Aleppo province.

The second leader of Islamic State, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, born Amir Mohammed Abdul Rahman al-Mawli al-Salbi (Courtesy)

They also killed IS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi during an operation in Atme, a region of Idlib province, on February 3.

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