Leader Of Elite Al-Qaeda Cell Killed In Airstrike

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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An American airstrike in Syria killed Sanafi al-Nasr, leader of the Al-Qaeda cell known as the “Khorasan Group,” on October 15th, the Defense Department announced Sunday.

Al-Nasr, whose full name is Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh, was a Saudi national who, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook,

was a long-time jihadist experienced in funneling money and fighters for al-Qaeda. He moved funds from donors in the Gulf region into Iraq and then to al-Qaeda leaders from Pakistan to Syria. He 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. Al-Nasr previously worked for al-Qaeda’s Iran-based facilitation network. In 2012 he took charge of al-Qaeda’s core finances before relocating to Syria in 2013.

The United States has focused its efforts on dismantling the Khorasan Group, five of their senior leaders have been killed in the past four months. Back in 2014 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that, “in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.” (RELATED:Pentagon: Airstrike Killed Infamous Syrian Al-Qaida Leader)

Khorasan group, which consists of 30 or so veteran al-Qaeda operatives, has embedded itself in Nusra Front, an Al-Qaeda affiliated Syrian opposition force. It is also believed to be the group most willing and capable of launching attacks on Western targets. They were instructed by Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri to recruit operatives with Western passports.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said regarding the killing of al-Nasr, “The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy Al Qaeda and its remnants.”

Airstrikes continued Sunday with the DOD reporting 23 combined sorties flown in Iraq and Syria combined, among the targets destroyed were 28 ISIL fighting positions, 7 tactical ISIL units, multiple ISIL vehicles, and an ISIL bomb factory.