US confirms coalition airstrike killed top al-Qaida commander in Syria

The U.S. says Sanafi al-Nasr 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.

French Air Force/ECPAD via AP
This photo released on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015 by the French Army Communications Audiovisual office (ECPAD) shows a French army Rafale fighter jet on the tarmac of an undisclosed air base as part of France's Operation Chammal launched in September 2015 in support of the US-led coalition against Islamic State group. France’s defense minister says French fighter jets fired airstrikes on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Syria, targeting foreign fighters plotting attacks in Europe.

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.

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