Nusra Front Confirms Senior Syrian Figure Killed in U.S. Strike

BEIRUT (Reuters) -
Abu Firas al-Suri, a prominent leader of Nusra Front, is seen in this still image taken from video. The United States has carried out an air strike in Syria that killed Abu Firas al-Suri, a prominent leader of al Qaeda offshoot Nusra Front, U.S. officials told Reuters on April 4, 2016. Social Media Website. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Abu Firas al-Suri, a prominent leader of Nusra Front, is seen in this still image taken from video. (Reuters/Social Media Website)

Al-Qaida’s Syrian offshoot Nusra Front confirmed on Wednesday that their spokesman and veteran jihadist terrorist Abu Firas al-Suri was killed in a U.S. air strike in Syria.

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. air strike 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 terror group, notably in the northwestern province of Idlib.