Pentagon says Khorasan Group leader killed in Syria air strike

Civilians shop for vegetables and fruits displayed in front of a damaged building in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood, Syria on Wednesday.
Civilians shop for vegetables and fruits displayed in front of a damaged building in Aleppo's Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood, Syria on Wednesday. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP, REUTERS) - The leader of a group of Al-Qaeda veterans which Washington calls the Khorasan Group has been killed in a coalition air strike in Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi national also known as Abdul Mohsen Abdullah Ibrahim al-Sharikh, was killed in an air attack in the northwest of the country on Thursday, it said.

"This operation deals a significant blow to the Khorasan Group's plans to attack the United States and our allies," US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group, had reported al-Nasr's death on Friday, saying he was killed in a strike in Aleppo province.

Al-Nasr was listed as a "specially designated global terrorist" by the US Treasury Department in 2014. He had been erroneously reported dead in the past.

"The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy Al-Qaeda and its remnants," added Carter.

The Pentagon described al-Nasr as a "long-time jihadist" who funneled money and fighters for Al-Qaeda and said he was the fifth senior Khorasan Group leader killed in the last four months.

Al-Nasr worked for Al-Qaeda's Iran-based network before taking charge of the militant group's finances in 2012 and moving to Syria in 2013, the Pentagon said.

He was the fifth senior Khorasan Group leader killed in the last four months, it said.