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Key al-Qaida Bomb-maker Believed Dead


FILE - Image of Khorasan Group’s David Drugeon, a French foreign fighter who was peddling advanced bomb-making skills for an al-Qaida cell in Syria. (Courtesy of Counter Extremism Project)

FILE - Image of Khorasan Group’s David Drugeon, a French foreign fighter who was peddling advanced bomb-making skills for an al-Qaida cell in Syria. (Courtesy of Counter Extremism Project)

It appears coalition airstrikes may have caught up to a French foreign fighter who was peddling advanced bomb-making skills for an al-Qaida cell in Syria.

A U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity told VOA the Khorasan Group’s David Drugeon likely was killed in early July, in what the official described as a package of airstrikes targeting him and other top Khorasan operatives.

“It would have a significant impact,” the official said, noting Drugeon had been working on devices such as non-metallic improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which are extremely hard to detect.

“This is a group that has really been focused on spectacular attacks on the West,” the official said.

The U.S. first targeted Drugeon back in November 2014 and believed he had been killed in a series of strikes that also destroyed Khorasan Group meeting areas and bomb-making and training facilities.

A recent post on Twitter by a well-known jihadist indicated Drugeon escaped the first strike with injuries, but was not able to escape last month’s strike near Aleppo.

According to the Counter Extremism Project, the 25-year-old Drugeon converted to Islam at the age of 13 and later studied Arabic and Islamic studies in Egypt. In 2010, he went to Pakistan where he trained for jihad and developed his bomb-making expertise.

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