The Pentagon announced that Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of the so-called Khorasan group, has been killed in an airstrike. A U.S.-led coalition airstrike earlier this month killed the leader of the al-Qaida offshoot in Syria that U.S. officials accuse of plotting attacks against the United States and its allies, the Pentagon said. Fadhli was killed in a "kinetic strike" on July 8 while traveling in a vehicle near the northwestern Syrian town of Sarmada, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.
News agencies reported last September that the newly established U.S.-led coalition, which emerged in the hope of erasing the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front from Syria and Iraq, killed the leader of the Khorasan group that is allegedly linked to al-Qaida, but has not carried out any attack using that, which is the name of a region in present day Iran, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan and is associated with being one of the birth places of Sufism with which Salafist militants are at war. Fadhli, a Kuwaiti-born al-Qaida leader, was killed along with his wife and daughter in raids that targeted several sites in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib. The U.S. military said in September that they believed the Khorasan leader was killed in the airstrikes. Caitlin Hayden, a U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman, defined Khorasan as a network of al-Nusra Front and al-Qaida core extremists. The U.S. military said the group had "established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations."
In an interview in September, U.S. President Barack Obama listed the Khorasan group among the most dangerous terrorist organizations and immediate threats to the U.S. "The U.S. State Department had posted a $7 million reward for information leading to Fadhli's death or detention. He was wanted by law enforcement authorities in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United States for terrorist activities," Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. According to AFP, Fadhli was a major facilitator to late militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who once led al-Qaida in Iraq and other fighters against U.S. and multinational forces.
The debates over the question of whether the Khorasan group exists or was fabricated by the U.S. to alter attention for some reason continue. Daily Sabah contacted an activist from a rural part of Aleppo who did not give his name due to security issues. He said he had ever never heard of the group. He said there are some groups that share a similar ideology with al-Qaida but al-Nusra Front is the only official branch. Similarly, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, head of the al-Qaida-affiliated Nusra Front, in an interview with Al-Jazeera said no group existed as such. "The West is targeting al-Nusra because they know we are the real threat to the Assad regime. This is why they came out and said they are only targeting this group that they called Khorasan. There is nothing called Khorasan. The Americans came up with it to deceive the public. They claim that this secret group was set up to target Americans, but this is not right," he said.
Imran Khan from Al-Jazeera wrote on last November Khorasan group was coined by the U.S. "Khorasan is almost certainly a term that the U.S. government has coined. It's suitably exotic. Geographically, it's a historical region in the north east of Iran and includes Afghanistan and what is now Pakistan. These tallies with what I've been told by my sources, and who the Americans claim, make up the group: a hardcore of former al-Qeida fighters who come from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran. Khorasan doesn't have a flag, it doesn't have a media operation, or a brand name which people recognize. In short, it doesn't have the things that ISIS and other groups have, that turn them into a rallying call for others," Khan said.
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