The US military conducted an airstrike that killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar in northwest Syria, Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesperson Major John Rigsbee said on Friday (local time). Rigsbee said there are no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike, which was conducted using an MQ-9 aircraft.
“A US airstrike today in northwest Syria killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar. We have no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike, which was conducted using an MQ-9 aircraft,” Rigsbee said. Al-Qaeda continues to present a threat to America and our allies, according to the statement.
Rigsbee said the killing of al-Matar will disrupt al-Qaida’s “ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.” He said al-Qaida “uses Syria as a base for threats reaching into Syria, Iraq and beyond.”
“Al-Qaeda uses Syria as a safe haven to rebuild, coordinate with external affiliates, and plan external operations. Al-Qaeda also uses Syria as a base for threats reaching into Syria, Iraq and beyond. The removal of this al-Qaeda 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,” the statement read.
The US will continue to target members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations who intend to harm the US homeland, it added. The drone strike came two days after a US military outpost in southern Syria was hit by a coordinated attack that included drones and rockets. US officials said no American troops stationed there were injured or killed.