U.S. forces launched two airstrikes in Syria that killed 11 al-Qaeda militants, including a top leader, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.
The strikes were conducted Friday and Saturday near Idlib in western Syria.
Saturday's airstrike killed Abu Hani al-Masri, described in a Pentagon statement as a "legacy al-Qaeda terrorist" who had ties to al-Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Bin Laden was killed in a 2011 raid by U.S. forces in Pakistan, and Zawahiri replaced him.
"Al-Masri oversaw the creation and operation of many al-Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan in the 1980s and '90s, where he recruited, indoctrinated, trained and equipped thousands of terrorists who subsequently spread throughout the region and the world," the Pentagon statement said.
"He was also one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the first Sunni group to use suicide bombers in their terror attacks. EIJ is responsible for multiple attacks against U.S. and allied facilities and personnel, including a 1998 attempt to blow up the American embassy in Albania," the statement said.
The U.S. counterterror strikes against al-Qaeda are separate from the broader U.S.-led coalition airstrikes aimed at the Islamic State in Syria. Most of the strikes against the Islamic State take place in northeast Syria.
The strike on Friday killed 10 militants in a building used as an al-Qaeda meeting place, the Pentagon statement said.