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An American drone strike killed a top bomb-maker for the Khorasan terrorist organization in Syria, U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday. The military said it struck because Khorasan was “plotting to attack in Europe or the homeland.”
The strike, a Hellfire missile, killed David Drugeon, 24, a French national who was considered a high-value target, the officials said. At least one other Khorasan member was believed to have been killed. The officials denied reports that the strike was targeting the Nusra Front, a militant group with ties to al Qaeda.
Khorasan, a jihadist network of al Qaeda veterans, was a target when the United States launched airstrikes in Syria in September. Those strikes also targeted ISIS. U.S. officials said at the time that Khorasan was plotting attacks against the United States.
The American attack on Wednesday struck five targets and damaged Khorasan buildings, bomb-making facilities and training areas, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.
“These al Qaeda operatives are taking advantage of the Syrian conflict to advance attacks against Western interests,” Central Command said. “This network was plotting to attack in Europe or the homeland, and and we took decisive action to protect our interests and remove their capability to act.”
- What Is Khorasan, and Why Was It Targeted?
- TSA Administrator: Khorasan Is a 'Clear and Present Danger'