The U.S. Department of Defense said Tuesday that a senior al Qaeda member, among the few leaders who received advance notice of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, was killed earlier this month in an airstrike in Syria.
Muhsin al-Fadhli, the leader of veteran al Qaeda operatives sometimes called the Khorasan Group, was killed on July 8 while traveling in a vehicle near Sarmada, Syria, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a spokesman for the Defense Department said in a statement.
“His death will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of al-Qaida against the United States and its allies and partners,” Davis said.
Davis said the Khorasan Group that al-Fadhli led was plotting attacks against the United States and its allies. Al-Fadhli was also involved in terrorist attacks that took place in October 2002, including against U.S. Marines in Kuwait and the French ship MV Limburg.
BuzzFeed News previously reported the Khorasan Group had been targeted by the Obama administration with airstrikes alongside ISIS. The group was almost totally unknown to the American public until the U.S. started bombing them, though sources said the group has been known to the administration and to Congress for some time.
Little was known about al-Fadhli, but last year the Department of State said he was based in Iran.
House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member, Adam Schiff, in a statement said the intelligence community and Department of Defense had worked hard to track down al Qaeda operatives, particularly Khorasan members.
The California Democrat said al-Fadhli’s position will not be easily filled.
His death, Schiff said, “means that a seasoned, knowledgeable, and dangerous terrorist who actively sought to harm the United States and its allies has been taken off the battlefield for good.”