Khorasan Threat Was Kept Secret for Months

Al-Qaeda cell was cause of recent air security warnings
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2014 3:53 AM CDT
Updated Sep 24, 2014 7:51 AM CDT
Lawmakers: Khorasan Threat Was Secret for Months
Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville Jr., director of operations J3, prepares to speak about the operations in Syria during a news conference at the Pentagon yesterday.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Not many people had heard of the Khorasan terror group until it emerged that many of the US-led airstrikes in Syria targeted the group—but some lawmakers say they've known about the threat for months, BuzzFeed reports. Rep. Peter King says he is surprised the name of the "lethal and dangerous" al-Qaeda cell is now public. "It was supposed to be top secret, classified, and it wasn't until last week that an AP story had it in there," he says. "But we weren't supposed to talk about it." Other officials say they were briefed on the threat months ago but didn't know the name of the group or that of its leader, Muhsin al-Fadhli, until they appeared in the media this week.

American officials say the group is made up of al-Qaeda veterans from several countries who traveled to Syria under the orders of leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to plot attacks on the West—and the group's activities were the source of recent airline security alerts, including a warning not to travel with uncharged electronic devices, the New York Times reports. Officials have confirmed that al-Fadhli was a target of the airstrikes, but it's not clear whether he was killed, the Los Angeles Times reports. Khorasan was closely allied with the Nusra Front, another al-Qaeda affiliate, and that group has released a statement saying its leader, Abu Yousef al-Turki—also known as "the Turk"—was killed in the airstrikes, reports CNN. Learn more about the Khorasan terror group here. (Read more Khorasan stories.)

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