• Pentagon: Airstrike Killed Infamous Syrian Al-Qaida Leader

    The Pentagon announced Tuesday a U.S. airstrike in Syria killed Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior al-Qaida leader and former confidant of Osama bin Laden, earlier this month.

    Al-Fadhli, a native Kuwaiti, has been linked to the “Khorasan Group,” which is the U.S. government’s name for a cell of core al-Qaida members in the country. Rather than contributing to the Islamist presence in the Syria civil war, Khorasan coordinates the network’s plans to launch attacks on the U.S. and its allies. (RELATED: Here’s How Many Jihadi Camps Are In Syria And Iraq)

    The Department of Defense statement said al-Fadhli was so close to bin Laden he was among the few leaders in the group to receive advance notice of the 9/11 attacks. The airstrike reportedly targeted al-Fadhli while he was in a vehicle near the town of Sarmada, which is in Syria’s far northwest and just miles from the border with Turkey.

    Several reports in recent years have claimed that al-Fadhli has died. With Tuesday’s statement by the Pentagon, the rumors appear to have come true.

    American airstrikes against Islamic State and al-Qaida have become an increasingly valuable tool of the U.S.’ campaign against jihadi groups in Syria. A raid in May against an ISIS leader known as “Abu Sayyaf” reportedly provided operational intelligence regarding that group, which is al-Qaida’s largest rival in the country. (VIDEO: Explained In Two Minutes: The Insane Rise Of ISIS)

    Besides public information provided by the U.S. goverment, little is known about so-called “Khorasan,” including whether that name is used by the group itself. But the Pentagon has claimed that its “focus is not on overthrowing the Assad regime or helping the Syrian people.”

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