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A little-known terror group was 'on verge of major attack' on the US

The group, unaffiliated to the Islamic State group, was also targeted in air strikes today.

Muhsin-al-Fadhli, leader of the Khorasan group.
Muhsin-al-Fadhli, leader of the Khorasan group.

US-LED AIR ATTACKS against jihadists in Syria targeted Al-Qaeda’s Khorasan group because it was on the verge of carrying out “major attacks” against the West, the US military has said.

President Barack Obam said that Arab support for the airstrikes “makes it clear to the world this is not America’s fight alone.”

“We’re going to do what’s necessary to take the fight to this terrorist group, for the security of the country and the regime and for the entire world,” Obama said as he left Washington for meetings of the U.N. General Assembly in New York

The Americans pounded Khorasan targets in Syria with Tomahawk cruise missiles to counter the mounting threat posed by the group, said Lieutenant General William Mayville, director of operations for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

He said:

Intelligence reports indicated that the group was in the final stages of plans to execute major attacks against western targets and potentially the US homeland.

The strikes against the Khorasan militants today were separate from a wave of bombing raids led by the United States and joined by several Arab countries that targeted the Islamic State group.

The little-known terror cell is said to consist of as few as 50 “seasoned al Qaeda veterans”, is not affiliated with Islamic State, and is led by Muhsin al-Fadhli, said to be one of the few people who had been aware of the 9/11 attacks before they were carried out.

Quartz reports that they were known for developing explosives that could be sneaked into airports.

Khorasan Group Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, Jr., Director of Operations J3, speaks about the operations in Syria Source: AP/Press Association Images

Earlier, the Pentagon had said that US air strikes killed Khorasan members hatching plots against Western targets.

US Central Command, which oversees American forces in the Middle East, had announced that American forces carried out eight air strikes against Khorasan group targets west of Aleppo.

Mayville said more than 40 Tomahawk missiles were launched from naval ships in the Gulf and the Red Sea, and that “the majority of the Tomahawk strikes were against Khorasan.”

The Khorasan group was not focused on battling the Syrian regime or aiding the Syrian people but instead is “establishing roots in Syria in order to advance attacks against the West and the homeland,” he said.

- © AFP, 2014, additional reporting by Nicky Ryan and Associated Press

Read: Captured British journalist warns of “another Vietnam” in war with Islamic State >

Watch: US Navy record missile attack on Islamic State group >

More: US and five Arab countries begin airstrikes on Islamic State >

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