The Pentagon says two US airstrikes near Idlib in northwest Syria killed 11 al-Qaeda operatives, including one with ties to Osama bin Laden and other senior al-Qaeda leaders, the AP reports. Spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said in a statement that a single airstrike on Feb. 3 killed 10 operatives in a building used as an al-Qaeda meeting site. A second strike the next day killed Abu Hani al-Masri, identified by the Pentagon as a "legacy" al-Qaeda terrorist who oversaw the creation and operation of al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s.
Davis said al-Masri had ties to bin Laden and to Ayman al-Zawahiri, who became the top leader of al-Qaeda when bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011. He "was also one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the first Sunni group to use suicide bombers in their terror attacks," the Pentagon statement said. "EIJ is responsible for multiple attacks against US and allied facilities and personnel, including a 1998 attempt to blow up the American embassy in Albania." (Thousands of US airstrikes may never have been publicly disclosed.)