Did the U.S. Kill the Head of Khorasan?

Sep 28, 2014 at 9:41 AM ET

Several days after the United States and a coalition of Arab states bombed Syria, a Twitter account purportedly belonging to an Al Qaeda member announced the death of Mohsin al-Fadhli, the leader of the shadowy Al Qaeda-linked group known as Khorasan.

The announcement, which couldn’t be confirmed, only increased speculation about Fadhli’s fate. Early last week, a U.S. official confirmed Fadhli’s death. But shortly afterward, the Pentagon released a statement saying it was still investigating the matter. The U.S. has yet to comment on the latest development.

The Twitter account that announced Fadhli’s death seems to belong to a senior Al Qaeda member, who is also believed to be part of the Khorasan unit. SITE, a U.S.-based monitoring group, published news of the announcement after a series of tweets on Sept. 27 expressed condolences for the deaths of Fadhli and another Khorasan leader, Abu Yusuf al-Turki, adding that they were killed in U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

Until recently, Khorasan was a little-known cell inside Al Qaeda that gained international attention in recent weeks after U.S. officials said the group was plotting attacks against American targets. Many experts believe Khorasan consists of Pakistani and Afghani members of the Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate.