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US airstrike reportedly kills 7 senior al Qaeda leaders in Syria


The terrorist leaders were targeted during meeting

Photo by Jon Hobley/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The United States military believes it killed seven senior al Qaeda leaders in Syria in an airstrike last week, the Associated Press reported Monday.

What do we know?

According to Major Beth Riordan, a spokeswoman for U.S. Central Command, the airstrike was carried out on October 22 as the senior leaders for the terrorist group convened near Idlib, a city in northwestern Syria near the Turkish border.

Riordan did not disclose the names of the leaders in her statement to the Associated Press, but said that their removal was a strategic victory for the U.S. and its partners in the region.

"The removal of these AQ-S leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization's ability to further plot and carryout global attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians," Riordan said.

She added: "AQ-S takes advantage of the instability in northwest Syria to establish and maintain safe havens to coordinate terrorist activities. With our allies and partners, we will continue to target al-Qaida and other terrorist organizations."

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that, in all, 17 jihadists died in the airstrike, which targeted a dinner meeting last Thursday.

"They had been invited to dinner in a tent on a farm in Jakara," Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told Military.com. "It was a meeting of leaders opposed to [Hayat Tahrir al-Sham] and who reject the Russia-Turkish deals."

What else?

The news follows another apparent blow to the terrorist organization. On Monday, Afghanistan officials reported that they had killed a top al Qaeda propagandist who was on the FBI's most-wanted list.

The reported killing of Husam Abd al-Rauf was a good sign of continued resistance there as the U.S. finalizes its full withdrawal from the country in the coming months.

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