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Top Al-Qaeda Leader Reported Killed By U.S. Air Strike In Syria

Fighters from the former Al-Nusra Front -- renamed Fateh al-Sham Front after breaking from Al-Qaeda -- listen to a speech at an armament school after they recaptured two military academies in August.

A militant commander who was close to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri and helped lead its Al-Nusra Front offshoot in Syria was killed in a drone attack on October 3, the group said.

The Pentagon confirmed on October 3 that it had targeted a "prominent Al-Qaeda leader in Syria" who headed the extremist group Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly the Al-Nusra Front, but it did not name the official.

The group said on Twitter that Sheikh Abu al Faraj al-Masri, who spent years in prison in his native Egypt on charges of plotting with fundamentalist Islamist groups and later left for Afghanistan, died when the vehicle in which he was traveling was hit in rebel-held Idlib in Syria's northwest.

Last month, Abu Hajer al-Homsi, the group's top commander, was killed in an air strike in rural Aleppo Province.

Masri, 60, whose real name was Sheikh Ahmad Salamah Mabrouk, became one of the leading companions of Zawahri in Afghanistan after being released from prison in Egypt.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP