US confirms airstrike in Syria killed al-Qaida commander

AP News
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Posted: Oct 18, 2015 9:55 AM

TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The U.S. military is confirming that an airstrike in Syria by the U.S.-led coalition has killed a top al-Qaida commander.

The Pentagon says a Saudi national known as Sanafi al-Nasr was "a longtime jihadist experienced in funneling money and fighters" for the terrorist network.

A statement from the U.S. Defense Department says coalition forces conducted the airstrike on Thursday over northwest Syria.

The U.S. says he was a leading figure in the Khorasan group — a secretive cell of al-Qaida operatives who U.S. officials say were sent from Pakistan to Syria to plot attacks against the West.

U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the military operation "deals a significant blow" to the Khorasan group's plans to attack the U.S. and its allies.

A U.S. official who was not authorized to discuss the strike publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity said an American drone targeted and struck the militant.