Mavi Marmara
Mavi MarmaraAFP photo

One of the Islamist "activists" who attacked IDF soldiers aboard the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010 has reportedly been killed in a US airstrike in Syria, as he was fighting alongside Islamist terrorists.

40-year-old Bulent Alniak was killed in a US airstrike in Idlib, northwestern Syria, on a target identified as belonging to the "Islamic State" terrorist group (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL), according to the Turkish World Bulletin website.

According to that report, Alniak was carrying out "aid work" ahead of the upcoming Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. 

But other sources have suggested a somewhat less peaceful motive. Another Turkish outlet, T24, claimed Alniak was in Syria fighting alongside the Nusra Front - Al Qaeda's official branch in Syria. It said he had arrived in Syria over the past summer, on the second day of Ramadan, and also claimed he was killed in Idlib.

Significantly, the Turkish Islamist group behind the Mavi Marmara flotilla which Alniak was an active member of - the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) - is suspected of having close ties to Al Qaeda.

In January of this year IHH offices were raided by Turkish police investigating those terror links, and the group has also been accused of sending weapons to jihadi rebels in neighboring Syria.

A US-led air campaign targeting the Islamic State has steadily expanded from halting the group's advances in Iraq to striking its strongholds and front line positions in neighboring Syria.

But some airstrikes have also targeted Nusra Front positions and operatives, with American officials saying a hardcore of veteran terrorists embedded within the Al Qaeda affiliate were planning attacks against the US homeland. 

Nusra and Islamic State have been at loggerheads since the latter broke away from Al Qaeda earlier this year, but both share a vehemently anti-western ideology, and western security analysts fear a terror plot by returning foreign fighters from either group could be just a matter of time.