Separate U.S. Airstrikes Kill 2 Senior al-Qaida Leaders in Syria


Two senior al-Qaida operatives were killed recently in separate U.S. airstrikes in Syria, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said in two statements issued today.

Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi, an al-Qaida external operations leader, was killed by a U.S. precision airstrike Jan. 17 near Idlib, Syria, Cook said in a statement. The deceased terrorist, a Tunisian, was involved in extremist facilitation and external operations and has been connected to terrorist plots to attack Western targets.

The terrorist arrived in Syria in 2014 after spending several years in countries across Europe and the Middle East, where he maintained ties with multiple extremists, said Cook, adding the terrorist's death will degrade al-Qaida's pool of experienced, well-connected facilitators and fighters with external operations experience.

In a separate statement, Cook said U.S. forces killed Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi, an al-Qaida facilitator, in a Jan. 12 precision airstrike near Saraqib, Syria.

Muslimi, a Tunisian, was trained by the Taliban in the late 1990s, when he facilitated extremist travel for the terror group, Cook said. He had extensive and long-standing ties to numerous al-Qaida external operations planners and terrorists. 

Cook said Muslimi’s death will degrade Al-Qaida in Syria's access to that cadre of veteran plotters, which will likely disrupt its ongoing terror plotting.

Muslimi's role will be difficult for al-Qaida to fill, Cook said, and the United States will continue to take action to deny these terrorists a safe haven in Syria from which to plot to attack the United States, its allies or its interests.