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Pentagon: US Airstrike Kills Longtime Al-Qaida Operative


A longtime al-Qaida operative was killed in a U.S. airstrike in early July while traveling near Sarmada, Syria, the Pentagon said.

Muhsin al-Fadhli was traveling in a vehicle when he was hit July 8.

Al-Fadhli was the leader of a network of al-Qaida operatives called the Khorasan Group, "who are plotting external attacks against the United States and our allies," Navy Captain Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement Tuesday.

FILE - Muhsin al-Fadhli is seen in an undated photo provided by the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.
FILE - Muhsin al-Fadhli is seen in an undated photo provided by the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C.

Davis added that al-Fadhli "was a senior al-Qaida facilitator who was among the few trusted al-Qaida leaders that received advanced notification of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks."

The Pentagon said al-Fadhli also was involved in terrorist attacks that took place in October 2002, including against U.S. Marines on Faylaka Island in Kuwait and on the French ship MV Limburg.

"His death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of al-Qaida against the United States and our allies and partners," Davis said.

In 2012, the U.S. State Department had offered a $7 million reward for information leading to the death or capture of al-Fadhli, who had been previously based in Iran.

"Al-Qaida elements in Iran, led by al-Fadhli, are working to move fighters and money through Turkey to support al-Qaida-affiliated elements in Syria. Al-Fadhli also is leveraging his extensive network of Kuwaiti jihadist donors to send money to Syria via Turkey," a State Department release said.

The Khorasan group, that was led by al-Fadhli, is linked to another al-Qaida affiliated group in Syria, the Nusra Front.

VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this report from the Pentagon.

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