Al-Qaeda confirmed on March 2 that a U.S.-led coalition drone strike killed its No. 2 leader, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, in Syria.
A statement issued by the militant group's Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula branches said he died a "hero" in a "treacherous" drone strike it called a "new crime by America and the crusader coalition."
Egyptian-born Masri, 59, a longtime operative, was second in command to Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri and viewed as "jihadi royalty."
U.S. officials said a Hellfire missile fired by a CIA drone killed Musri on February 26 while he was riding in a car near the northwest Syrian city of Idlib. Idlib is a stronghold of Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, Nusra Front, also known as Fateh al-Sham Front.
Masri, also known as Abdullah Muhammad Rajab Abdulrahman, was the son-in-law of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and a member of Al-Qaeda's shura council.
Masri sought refuge in Iran after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. He had been hunted by U.S. forces for almost 19 years.