US kills ‘senior leader’ of al-Qaeda-linked group in Syria

US military says it carried out a raid targeting Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, leader of the al-Qaeda-aligned group, Hurras al-Din.

Map of Idlib province with Damascus

The United States military says it carried out a raid in Syria’s Idlib province that targeted a senior leader of an al-Qaeda-aligned group.

The attack on Monday targeted Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a “senior leader” of al-Qaeda-aligned Hurras al-Din, while he was travelling alone on a motorcycle, the US Central Command said in a statement.

It added that an initial review did not indicate 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,” the statement added.

The Syrian Civil Defence, a humanitarian organisation, said in a tweet that a man was killed shortly before midnight after his motorcycle was targeted with two rockets, adding it has transferred the body to the forensic department in Idlib city.

Huras al-Din was founded in 2018 by al-Qaeda supporters.

In June 2020, the US military killed Khaled Aruri, a top Jordanian commander with Huras al-Din, also in Idlib. A drone attack in December 2019 killed a senior Huras al-Din commander, the Jordanian citizen Bilal Khuraisat, also known as Abu Khadija al-Urduni.

Separate US air attacks in Syria have also killed al-Qaeda’s then second-in-command, Abu Kheir al-Masri, in 2017, the first leader of ISIL (ISIS), Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in 2019, and his sucessor, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, in February.

Source: News Agencies