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Senior al-Qaeda figure killed in US air strike in Syria

US officials have announced an air strike in Syria has killed a senior figure of the terrorist organisation al-Qaeda.

In a statement released on Friday US time, it was revealed the strike carried out by an MQ-9 aircraft in northwest Syria had killed Abdul Hamid al-Matar.

US Army Major John Rigsbee from US Central Command said the action was a major blow against the group which “continues to present a threat to America and our allies”.

Major Rigsbee said there was no indication of civilian casualties as a result of the drone strike.

“al-Qaeda uses Syria as a safe haven to rebuild, co-ordinate with external affiliates, and plan external operations. al-Qaeda also uses Syria as a base for threats reaching into Syria, Iraq and beyond,” he said.

“The removal of this al-Qaeda senior leader will disrupt the terrorist organisation’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians.

“The US will continue to target members of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organisations who intend to harm the US homeland.”

The notorious organisation was founded in Pakistan by Osama bin Laden and others in 1988 and has been responsible for numerous terrorist attacks including September 11 and the Bali bombings in 2002.

The air strike was carried out by an unmanned aircraft.

Australia’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne has been contacted for comment.

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