U.S. drone strike kills al-Qaida leader in Syria, CENTCOM says

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Oct. 23 (UPI) — The U.S. military conducted a drone strike in northwest Syria, killing a senior al-Qaida leader, U.S. Central Command announced.

CENTCOM said Friday that al-Qaida leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar died in the strike using a MQ-9 Reaper drone.

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The drone struck an area near the town of Suluk, which is in the Tell Abyad district of the Raqqa governorate. The town is close to the border with Turkey.

“Al-Qaida continues to present a threat to America and our allies,” said U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee, a CENTCOM spokesman.

“Al-Qaida uses Syria as a safe haven to rebuild, coordinate with external affiliates, and plan external operations. Al-Qaida also uses Syria as a base for threats reaching into Syria, Iraq and beyond. The removal of this al-Qaida senior leader will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening U.S. citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.”