A Pentagon official confirmed reports that a senior al-Qaida commander was killed in a military airstrike in Syria.
On Sunday morning Peter Cook, the Pentagon's press secretary, confirmed the death of Sanafi al-Nasr, whose full name is Abdul Mohsen Abdallah Ibrahim al-Charekh. Cook said al-Nasr was killed on Oct. 15 in an airstrike led by "coalition forces" in northwest Syria.
WASHINGTON, USA: Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook, during a press briefing with reporters at the Pentagon in Washington, USA on September 10, 2015. (Photo by Erkan Avci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
According to Cook, al-Nasr was the highest ranking leader of a group of veteran al-Qaeda operatives, the "Khorasan Group," and a longtime jihadist. He reportedly was experienced in funneling not only money but also fighters for al-Qaeda.
Cook credited al-Nasr with moving funds from the Gulf region into Iraq and to al-Qaeda leaders from Pakistan and Syria. He also reportedly organized and maintained travel routes for new recruits from Pakistan to Syria through Turkey. Al-Nasr was in charge of al-Qaeda's core finances in 2012 before he moved to Syria in 2013, Cook said.
In the last four months, al-Nasr is the fifth senior Khorasan Group leader to have been killed, according to Cook.
"The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qaeda and its remnants," Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said in a statement Sunday. "This operation deals a significant blow to the Khorasan Group's plans to attack the United States and our allies, and once again proves that those who seek to do us harm are not beyond our reach."
The New York Times reported that al-Nasr was believed to have been plotting attacks against the U.S. and Europe.
In the statement, Cook said he could not disclose specific details regarding the airstrike for security purposes.