The US military launched three more airstrikes against the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria yesterday. The strikes did not target the so-called Khorasan group, a cadre of al Qaeda leaders and operatives who are embedded with the Al Nusrah Front and are plotting to conduct attacks in the West.
A “mix of bomber [sic] and remotely piloted aircraft” targeted Islamic State “armed vehicles” southwest of the city of Dier al Zour in Syria, US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in a press release. One of the armed vehicles, which are likely technicals, or pickup trucks with machine guns mounted in the bed, was destroyed and the other was damaged.
Another armed vehicle was destroyed in an airstrike at an undisclosed location northwest of Baghdad.
All three of the airstrikes in Iraq and Syria were executed by US warplanes.
The US has now launched 194 airstrikes against the Islamic State inside Iraq since the air campaign began on Aug. 7, according to CENTCOM. US and allied forces launched 14 airstrikes against the Islamic State inside Syria since Sept. 22.
Additionally, the US launched eight airstrikes against al Qaeda’s Khorasan group in Syria on Sept. 22 as part of an effort “to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests.” The US targeted al Qaeda “training camps, an explosives and munitions production facility, a communication building and command and control facilities” in the air strikes and cruise missile attacks. Allied forces from five Arab countries did not participate in the attacks on the Khorasan group.
An Al Nusrah Front “commander” known as Abu Yusuf al Turki is reported to have been killed in the US attack in Syria. Al Turki trained fighters how to become snipers and fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. [See LWJ reports, US airstrikes target Al Nusrah Front, Islamic State in Syria and US air war against jihadists in Syria begins.]
The US did not follow up on the Sept. 22 strikes on the Khorasan group. The US military is still assessing the impact of the strikes against the Khorasan group, Rear Admiral John Kirby, the spokesman for Pentagon stated yesterday in an interview that focused primarily on the Islamic State.
Kirby said that the US “did have good information that they were in the final planning stages of an attack against Western targets, potentially the US homeland or Europe.”
“We’re not going to take our eye off this group, or their capabilities or their intentions,” Kirby continued.
Interview with Rear Admiral John Kirby: