U.S. Airstrikes Kill 11 al-Qaida Terrorists in Syria
U.S. forces killed 11 al-Qaida operatives in two precision airstrikes conducted Feb. 3-4 near Idlib, Syria, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement issued today.
The Feb. 4 airstrike killed Abu Hani al-Masri, a legacy al-Qaida terrorist with ties to the group’s senior leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri and the late Osama bin Laden, Davis said in the statement. Al-Masri oversaw the creation and operation of many al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in the 1980s and ’90s, where he recruited, indoctrinated, trained and equipped thousands of terrorists who subsequently spread throughout the region and the world.
Al-Masri was also one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the first Sunni group to use suicide bombers in their terror attacks, Davis said. EIJ is responsible for multiple attacks against U.S. and allied facilities and personnel, including a 1998 attempt to blow up the American embassy in Albania.
The Feb. 3 airstrike killed 10 terrorists in a building being used as an al-Qaida meeting place, Davis said.
These strikes disrupt al-Qaida’s ability to plot and direct external attacks targeting the U.S. and our interests worldwide, Davis said. The extremists are increasingly questioning the loyalty of their members, the spokesman added, as paranoia spreads throughout their network about the many strikes conducted against them.
U.S. forces have struck multiple meeting locations, an established basic training camp and four leaders since the beginning of the year, Davis said.
The U.S. and its allies will continue to take action to deny these terrorists safe haven in Syria to ensure they cannot focus on plotting terror against the region and world, the spokesman said.
Source: US Department of Defense
Photo: USAF F-15E Strike Eagles over Northern Iraq in 2014 – Op Inherent Resolve (Matthew Burch, 2014).