The US killed al Qaeda veteran Abu al Khayr al Masri in a drone strike in Idlib, Syria in late February. Masri was identified as al Qaeda’s “general deputy” in July 2016. He worked to unite Syrian rebel groups under a common banner.
The White House says that two hostages, including an American, were killed in a counterterrorism “operation” in January. The two perished in an attack that also killed Ahmed Farouq, a prominent al Qaeda leader. Declassified documents recovered in Osama bin Laden’s compound identified a jihadist by that name as an up and coming leader. Adam Gadahn, an American al Qaeda spokesman, was also killed in a separate operation.