US air strikes in Syria kill 11 al Qaeda operatives: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US forces killed 11 al Qaeda operatives in two air strikes near Idlib, Syria, this month, including a member with links to the late Osama bin Laden and other top leaders of the group, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

It said a Feb. 4 strike killed Abu Hani al-Masri, who it said oversaw the creation and operation of many al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s, where he “recruited, indoctrinated, trained and equipped thousands of terrorists.”

Al-Masri had ties to bin Laden and al Qaeda s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, the Pentagon said in a statement.

Ten al Qaeda members were killed in an air strike on a building used as a meeting place on Feb. 3, it said.