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US launches fresh air strikes on Khorasan group in Syria

WASHINGTON: The United States said it conducted air strikes on Wednesday night against the so-called Khorasan group of al Qaeda-linked militants based in Syria, saying the group was plotting to attack Europe or the United States.

Separately, one US official said a target of the strike was David Drugeon, a French-born militant and convert to Islam who some US officials have described as a bombmaker for the group. US officials have not confirmed that Drugeon was killed in the attack.

US officials also said they believed a leader of the Khorasan group named Muhsin al-Fadhli, who had been targeted in an earlier US strike, is still alive. In a statement on Thursday, Central Command said the strikes were carried out by the US military against five Khorasan targets near Sarmada, Syria.

“We are still assessing the outcome of the attack, but have initial indications that it resulted in the intended effects by striking terrorists destroying or severely damaging” several of the group’s vehicles and buildings as well as bombmaking and training facilities, it said.

“We took decisive action to protect our interests and remove their capability to act. These al-Qa’ida operatives are taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to advance attacks against Western interests,” it said.