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U.S. Airstrike Targets Senior al-Qaeda Leader | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A militant Islamist fighter waving a flag, cheers as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria’s northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. The fighters held the parade to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic “caliphate” after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. Picture taken June 30, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer (SYRIA – Tags: POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT) – RTR3WKMT

London- Sources have revealed that al-Qaeda jihadist Abu Faraj al-Masri was killed on Monday in a U.S. airstrike on his vehicle in Idlib countryside, western Syria. Sources of extremists in London stated that a drone strike targeted Masri vehicle, killing him, as revealed by witnesses.

Ahmed Salama Mabrouk, known as Abu Faraj al-Masri, is one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad and has a tight relation with al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

Local sources stated that the airstrike was more likely launched by the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS. The extremists stressed on their social network pages the assassination hypothesis while Fatah al-Sham Front did not confirm or deny this claim.

Hani al-Sibai, director of al-Maqrizi Center for Historical Studies (UK) in London, said that he knew Mabrouk in person for a couple of years and he was considered one of the prominent leaders at Egyptian Islamic Jihad.

“Mabrouk and Zawahri established training campaigns for Egyptian youth in Afghanistan… Later on, fighters were sacked from Afghanistan to Yemen and Sudan where Mabrouk and Zawahri provided shelters for these families,” said Sibai.

Sibai added that Zawahri, Mabrouk and Hisham al-Hannawi (killed in Chechnya) tried to enter Chechnya in 1997 but were arrested in Dagestan. The Russian intelligence failed to know their names while they were released months later when some fighters from Dagestan paid their bail.

“Mabrouk and Zawahri returned to Azerbaijan where the former was arrested by the U.S. intelligence and handed out to Cairo in 1998,” continued Sibai.

Mabrouk remained in prison until the phase post 25 January revolution when he was released. Before Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi became the president, he traveled to Syria and enrolled in the Nusra Front, which became later Fatah al-Sham Front, added Sibai.