Deputy Al-Qaeda Leader Killed In US Airstrike

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Local media said Fatah al-Sham, the former Al-Nusra front, confirmed the identity of Al-Masri on Monday (27 February) after the US Defense Department said they had led an attack in northwest Syria but without giving further details on the identity of the intended target. Deputy to present leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Masri has always been wanted by the US for his role in the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Al-Nusra renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham and insisted it was no longer linked to an external entity, but the U.S. kept the group on its list of foreign terrorist organisations and continued to target it in air strikes.

Reports coming in from Syria confirms the death of the 59-year-old Egyptian, including a post from Charles Lister of the Middle East Institute. It should be noted, however, that since bin Laden's death many high-profile al-Qaeda figures have been claimed to be the organization's "number two" man behind Zawahiri, and the fact that the same thing is happening this time doesn't necessarily mean it is the case.

The grassroots volunteer organization Syrian Observatory for Human rights also reported his death, but there has been no official word released by al-Qaeda.

Videos uploaded to social media allegedly show the vehicle al-Masri was in when it was targeted in the drone strike, with people rushing to examine the wreckage.

The 59-year-old Egyptian national, the deputy of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Syria died in the USA drone strike near the city of Idlib, according to the report.

United States intelligence believe Masri was involved in the 1998 bombings of USA embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

He also fought in Afghanistan where he became a close associate of Zawahiri before fleeing the country and landing in Iran where he was arrested in 2003.