A United States drone strike on Sunday reportedly killed a senior al-Qaeda leader, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, in Syria’s Idlib province, said the jihadi organisation. He was the son-in-law of al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, The Guardian reported on Monday. The Pentagon has confirmed the drone strike.

The missile fired from a drone hit a car in which al-Masri – the second-in-command of the militant group – was travelling, the report said. The Hai’at Tahrir al-Sham posted a statement saying al-Masri was killed in a “crusade coalition raid”, reported Sky News.

Prominent analyst of the Syrian conflict and professor at the Middle East Institute, Charles Lister, tweeted an image showing a car with a massive hole on the top. “HUGE news via source: al-Qaeda deputy leader Abu al-Khayr al-Masri has been killed in a US drone strike near Al-Mastoumeh in Idlib,” he wrote.

Lister told The Guardian that Masri’s death is the “biggest blow to al-Qaeda”. Masri was a jihadi royalty and his death will “necessitate some form of response”, he added.

Masri had fought alongside bin Laden in Afghanistan and had been in detention in Iran for over a decade. He was released in 2015 in exchange for an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in Yemen.