On Sunday evening, October 18, 2015, the Pentagon announced that the leader of a Qaeda cell had been killed in a military airstrike in northwestern Syria. The cell had allegedly been plotting attacks against both the US and Europe.
The operative in charge of the cell was called the “Khorasan Group” and its leader was Saudi citizen Sanafi al-Nasr. The cell was one of about two dozen in the group, and al-Nasr was the highest-ranking leader of the operative. The American airstrike operation took place on Thursday, and the Pentagon announced his death this Sunday as a part of the statement describing Thursday’s events. The Pentagon’s press secretary, Peter Cook, explained that al-Nasr was “a longtime militant experienced in funneling money and fighters for Al Qaeda.“ Cook also said that al-Nasr “had organized and maintained routes for new recruits to travel from Pakistan to Syria through Turkey, in addition to helping Al Qaeda’s external operations in the West.”
Another blow to the Khorasan Group occurred last week when its founding leader was killed while traveling by vehicle in northwestern Syria. The man was a senior Al Qaeda operative who was known for his close relationship with Osama bin Laden.
Officials say that the weakening of the Khorasan Group is in the best interest of the US, and is becoming a priority for the military and its drone strikes. The recent deaths are said to have helped this cause, and will keep Al Qaeda from taking advantage of the civil war in Syria.