A “senior al-Qaeda leader” in Syria was killed last week by a US air strike, according to the Pentagon.

The killing of Egyptian Abu Afghan al-Masri took place near Sarmada, located in Syria’s Idlib province, on November 18, Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook told reporters on Tuesday.

Cook said that Masri had originally joined al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and later moved to its Syrian affiliate.

“He had ties to terrorist groups operating throughout southwest Asia including groups responsible for attacking US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and those plotting to attack the West,” Cook said.

A handful of Arabic-language news agencies had reported Masri’s death at the time.

Masri was a religious judge in Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, an armed group formerly known as the al-Nusra Front until its formal break with al-Qaeda earlier this year.

The air strike was the latest in the US programme of targeted killings in Syria and Iraq. Earlier this month, the Pentagon announced that on October 17 it had killed Haydar Kirkan, who it said was a member of al-Qaeda and had been close to the late Osama bin Laden.

In October, the Pentagon said a US air strike near Idlib had targeted a Nusra senior leader, Ahmed Salama Mabrouk, an Egyptian also known by his nom de guerre Abu Faraj.