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CAIRO (Reuters) - Al-Qaeda confirmed on Thursday that a U.S.-led coalition drone strike had killed senior leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, in a joint statement issued by the militant group's Maghreb and Arabian Peninsula branches.

A Hellfire missile fired by a CIA drone killed the al-Qaeda leader late on Sunday while he was riding in a car near the northwestern Syrian city of Idlib, a U.S. intelligence official said on Wednesday.

Al-Masri was second-in-command to the group’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a member of its shura council, said the official.

(Reporting by Ali Abdelatti in Cairo,; Writing by Ellen Francis)

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