Washington: A French-born militant and explosives expert linked to al Qaeda was killed in a U.S.-led coalition air strike in Syria in July, the U.S. Defence Department said on Tuesday.
David Drugeon, a convert to Islam, was a member of the so-called Khorasan group, an al Qaeda-linked militant faction based in Syria. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Drugeon was killed in an air strike near the Syrian city of Aleppo on July 5.
Cook said Drugeon was an explosives expert who trained other militants in Syria and sought to plan attacks against Western targets. He was rumoured to have been killed in an air strike last year.
General Lloyd Austin, the head of the U.S. military`s Central Command, had previously called Drugeon one of Khorasan`s "leadership elements and one of the most dangerous elements in that organisation."
U.S. officials have described Khorasan as a particularly menacing faction of militants who have been using their sanctuary in Syria to try to organise plots to attack the United States and other Western countries, possibly including airliners.
Separately, a Sept. 10 air strike by the U.S.-led coalition killed Abu Bakr al Turkmani, Cook said, describing him as a leader of the Islamic State militant group.
Al Turkmani was an administrative official of the Islamic State and a close associate of several of the group`s senior leaders, Cook said. He was killed near the Iraqi city of Tal Afar.