DUBAI - A Twitter account purportedly run by an al-Qaida member said the leader of the al-Qaida-linked Khorasan group was killed in a U.S. air strike in Syria, SITE monitoring service said on Sunday, following several days of uncertainty over whether he survived the raid.
SITE, a for-profit private terrorist monitoring group, did not name the jihadist who reported Fadhli's death but said he had trained under a close associate of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri and had fought in Khorasan before traveling to Syria.
A U.S. official on Sept. 24 said the United States believed Muhsin al-Fadhli, a senior al-Qaida operative, had been killed in a strike a day earlier, but the Pentagon said several hours later that it was still investigating what had happened to him.
In a message posted on Sept. 27, the jihadist offered condolences for the death of Kuwaiti-born Fadhli, otherwise known as Abu Asmaa al-Kuwati or Abu Asmaa al-Jazrawi, following the Sept. 23 air strike, SITE reported.
U.S. oficials have described Khorasan as a network of seasoned al-Qaida fighters with battlefield experience mostly in Pakistan and Afghanistan that is now working in league with al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate, the Nusra Front.
Khorasan is a term for an area including parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan where al-Qaida's main council is believed to be in hiding.
After the Sept. 23 strikes, U.S. officials said they were was still assessing how badly Khorasan had been hit. Islamist militants on social media have said there were unconfirmed reports that the 33-year-old Fadhli had been killed.
A 2012 State Department notice offering a $7 million reward for information on Fadhli's whereabouts said he was an al-Qaida financier close to al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden and among the few who knew in advance about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.