A US air strike has killed senior al-Qaeda operative and Khorasan group leader Muhsin al-Fadhli, US officials say.

Al-Fadhli was travelling in a vehicle near Sarmada in north-western Syria when he was killed in a “kinetic strike”.

In a statement, US Navy Capt Jeff Davis said that Al-Fadhli was one of “the few trusted al-Qaida leaders who received advance notification of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States”.

Davis also accused Al-Fadhli of being involved in terror attacks against US Marines on Faylaka Island in Kuwait and on the French ship MV Limburg in October 2002.

Reports in 2014 had said that Al-Fadhli had been killed in a previous strike, but the information was later found to be inaccurate.

Very little is known about the Khorasan group, which Al-Fadhli is reported to have led. US officials claim that the group is a close-knit collection of around 50 high profile al-Qaeda operatives that established a base in Syria, from where it plans to launch attacks on the West.

The threat from the Khorasan group was used by the Obama administration to justify launching air strikes on rebel positions in September 2014.

However, a number of commentators have questioned whether the group exists in any distinct form from al-Qaeda or its Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Jabhat al-Nusra leader Abu Mohammed al-Julani denied the existence of any such Khorasan group and said that his organisation was entirely focused on attacking regime targets within Syria and had no plans to launch a terror attack on the West.



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