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Syria says al-Qaida linked group's leader killed

BEIRUT (AP) - Syrian state-run TV says the leader of the powerful al-Qaida-linked Jabhat al-Nusra has been killed.

The one-line report, which could not be immediately confirmed, says Abu Mohammad al-Golani was killed in the coastal province of Latakia. It did not say when or give other details. Opposition groups had no immediate comment on the report.

Rebels have gained footholds in mountainous regions of Latakia, which is largely loyal to President Bashar Assad.

The extremist group, also known as Nusra Front, is on a U.S. State Department list of terrorist organizations. The group has emerged as one of the most effective among rebel groups fighting Assad.

Al-Golani's death would be a huge blow to rebels who have been fragmented and outgunned by Assad's forces.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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