Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi national experienced in funneling money and fighters for al-Qaeda, was killed last week by an airstrike in northwest Syria, said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.
Al-Nasr, the highest ranking leader of the so-called “Khorasan Group,” a network of veteran al-Qaeda operatives, had worked to move money from donors in the Gulf region into Iraq and then to al-Qaeda leaders from Pakistan to Syria, according to the Pentagon. Al-Nasr also maintained routes to funnel new recruits from Pakistan into Syria.
“The United States will not relent in its mission to degrade, disrupt and destroy al-Qaeda and its remnants,” Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said in a statement on Sunday. “This operation deals a significant blow to the Khorasan Group’s plans to attack the United States and our allies.”
U.S. intelligence officials have said they viewed the group as especially dangerous because it is focused on attacking America and Europe.
Al-Nasr is the fifth Khorasan Group leader killed in the past four months, according to the Pentagon. In July, for example, the U.S. killed Muhsin al-Fadhli in a drone strike. Al-Fadhli was one of the few trusted al-Qaeda leaders who received advance word of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., according to the Pentagon.