Washington: The alleged leader of Al-Qaeda´s Khorasan Group was killed in an air strike by the US-led coalition in northern Syria, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
The “kinetic strike” killed Muhsin al-Fadhli on July 8 while he was traveling in a vehicle near Sarmada, Syria, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
He did not confirm whether a drone or a manned aircraft had killed Fadhli.
Fadhli was allegedly the leader of the Khorasan Group, a group of senior Al-Qaeda members who have traveled from Central Asia and elsewhere in the Middle East to Syria to plot attacks on the West.
Officials say Khorasan is part of Al-Qaeda´s Syrian branch, Al-Nusra Front, though experts and activists cast doubt on the distinction between the two groups.
Fadhli “was a senior Al-Qaeda facilitator who was among the few trusted Al-Qaeda leaders who received advance notification of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States,” said Captain Jeff Davis, a Defense Department spokesman.
“His death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of Al-Qaeda against the United States and its allies and partners.”
Davis, who heads the Defense Department’s press operations, said Fadhli was also involved in October 2002 attacks against US Marines on Kuwait´s Failaka Island and on the MV Limburg, a French oil tanker.
He was reported to have been previously targeted in a US air strike in September, but his death was not confirmed by US officials at the time.
The US State Department had posted a $7 million reward for information leading to Fadhli´s death or detention.
He was wanted by law enforcement authorities in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United States for terrorist activities.