Al-Qaeda deputy leader reportedly killed in Syria
WASHINGTON : The US government is investigating if Al-Qaeda's No. 2 has been killed in Syria, amid reports of a US air strike in or around the city of Idlib.
The official told AFP that agencies are working to confirm if Abu Khayr al-Masri is dead, in what would be a major counter-terrorism coup for US President Donald Trump so early in his presidency.
Al-Masri, a son-in-law of dead Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, is believed to be deputy to the group's current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri. "Certainly if the reports are true, it would be welcome news," said Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis.
Egypt-born al-Masri, 59, is one of Al-Qaeda's most prominent figures to have roots in the era before the 9/11 attacks on the US, according to private security and intelligence consultancy Soufan Group.
"It was in al-Masri's guest house in Kabul, Afghanistan, that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed briefed top Al-Qaeda leaders about the planning of the Sept 11, 2001 attacks," the Soufan Group said.