Al-Qaida's Syrian offshoot Nusra Front confirmed on Wednesday that their spokesman and veteran jihadist fighter Abu Firas al-Suri was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Syria.
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In an online statement, Nusra Front said Abu Firas died in an attack on Sunday by an "Arab-crusader coalition" led by the United States, confirming an April 4 statement on his death by Al-Qaida's North African wing.
Abu Firas, a former Syrian army officer discharged in the late 1970s because of his Islamist leanings, fought in Afghanistan in the 1980s and worked with Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to galvanize support for the fundamentalist Taliban movement, Islamist rebel sources said.
Abu Firas became a spokesman for the Nusra Front and was also a member of the group's policy-making Shura Council.
A Pentagon spokesman told Reuters on Monday that a U.S. airstrike on April 3 hit a meeting of high-level Al-Qaida officials in northwest Syria at which Abu Firas was present.
While the United States is part of a coalition of nations attacking Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it has also launched separate strikes on the Nusra Front group, notably in the northwestern province of Idlib.