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US Strike Kills Bomb Maker? Official Confirms Hit on al-Quaida Target

By    |   Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 02:13 PM

U.S. strikes may have killed a top bomb maker in Syria this week after a cell of al-Qaida militants were targeted, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press.

It wasn't certain whether the bomb-maker, French militant David Drugeon, was killed or injured, but the official said the strikes hit their intended targets near Sarmada, in the country's northwest, overnight Wednesday. The official was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Gen. Lloyd Austin, the Central Command commander in charge of U.S. military operations throughout the Middle East, said separately at a Washington forum that he would not discuss results of the strikes until they had been more fully studied. He suggested, however, the Drugeon may have been hit, or at least targeted.

"He is clearly one of the leadership elements and one of the most dangerous elements in that organization," Austin said. "And so any time we can take their leadership out, it's a good thing."

At the Pentagon, Army Col. Steve Warren said the strikes hit five targets at two locations.

Noting that reports coming out of the region suggest members of other militant groups were hit, Warren that the Khorasan Group was the pre-planned target of the strikes.

The Khorasan Group, he said, "is a group of personnel, some of whom are also al-Nusra affiliated, some of whom are al-Qaida affiliated, some of whom are affiliated with other organizations. But these strikes weren't specifically targeting any of those other organizations. They were targeting the Khorasan group. If a terrorist happens to be a member of both groups, so be it."

Austin said none of the airstrikes was aimed at al-Nusra.

The targets included bomb-making facilities, training areas and meeting locations. U.S. officials say the Khorasan Group is made up of al-Qaida veterans of wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the Nusra Front fighters. Officials say the group has been actively planning attacks against the West.

When airstrikes began in Syria in late September, the U.S. launched more than 20 Tomahawk cruise missiles and other bombs on eight Khorasan Group targets near Aleppo in northwestern Syria.

Warren said the U.S. believes the latest strikes had a degrading effect because both facilities and individuals were destroyed.

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U.S. strikes may have killed a top bomb maker in Syria this week after a cell of al-Qaida militants were targeted, a senior U.S. official told The Associated Press.
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2014-13-06
Thursday, 06 Nov 2014 02:13 PM
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