Monitor: US Drone Strike Kills Key al-Qaeda Figure in Syria

Attack Targeted Nusra Front-Dominated Area

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a top al-Qaeda figure from Egypt, Rifai Ahmad Taha, was killed in a US drone strike on Tuesday. The attack targeted Nusra Front territory in the Idlib Provonce.

Taha was a top figure in al-Qaeda for decades, having been one of the five leaders who signed an anti-US fatwa in 1998. He was arrested in Damascus in 2001, and apparently extradited back to Egypt. During the 2012 Egypt revolution, he was freed from prison.

The Pentagon confirmed an attack in Idlib Province, and that “several AQ militants” were killed, but declined to identify any of the slain. The Nusra Front has yet to comment on the attack, but comments from the group usually take a few days.

Taha’s family reported a number of Islamic groups had been paying condolences to them since the strike, and they say Taha had called them just three days before the strike, saying he believed the US was tracking his movements.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.