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Syria: Zawahiri Deputy Killed in a Raid | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A boy walks past the demolished site of a compound of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 2, 2012. Osama bin Laden was killed a year ago, on May 2, 2011, by a United States special operations military unit in a raid on his compound in Abbottabad. REUTERS/Mian Khursheed

London – Al-Qaeda deputy leader Abu Khayr al-Masri was killed in a drone strike along with other jihadists near the city of Idlib – extremists mourned him on the social media websites.

“Abu Khayr Masri is Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abdulrahman and is considered the number two man in Qaeda – his name is also on the terrorism list of 2005 issued by the US government,” said fundamentalists to Asharq Al-Awsat in London.

They added, “Masri, born in 1957, traveled with Qaeda’s leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to Sudan in the beginning of the 19s then to Afghanistan where they joined followers of late Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden who was killed in 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights affirmed that the number two man in Qaeda was killed in a raid conducted by a drone. For its part, Tahrir al-Sham issued a statement on his death by a “cruciferous raid”.

Head of the Islamic Observation Center based in London Yasser Tawfiq Ali el-Sirri said that the name of Masri came to surface last year when Qaeda broadcasted a voice note that granted Jabhat al-Nusra the permission to dissociate from Qaeda.

“The other person killed with Masri is a member of Tahrir al-Sham,” added Sirri.

In his voice note, Masri said “after the increasing calls for this step to evade a US-Russian military operation, we welcome any decision that spares the blood of Tahrir al-Sham members.” He added, “Jabhat al-Nusra can take any necessary steps to maintain the battle in Syria.”

On his twitter account, independent Egyptian jurist Sharif al-Hazaa wrote: “May his soul rest in peace. He told me days ago that he no longer holds his gun as he expects to be targeted from a warplane.”

According to fundamentalists’ sources, Masri was in charge of transportation and logistics affairs provided by Qaeda members who are sent to carry out foreign missions – he also had strong ties with Zawahiri.

In Egypt, a death penalty in absentia was issued in his case.