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– KHORASSAN THREAT

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 Khorassan is an historic province stretches  in the North-Eastern part of Iran and a small part in North-West Afghanistan – it is also the name of a shadowy Al Qaeda group popped up to the headlines in the Western media when America, in early 09/2014, launched its offensive against I.S.I.S

The Khorassan group is consisting of about 50 or so hardened fighters of mixed past and current jihadi affiliations, veterans of Al Qaeda, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan and has been holed up in Aleppo, Syria under the protection of Al Qaeda’s official wing in the country, Jabhat al-Nusra, developing cutting edge weapons of terror with the help of AQAP in the Arabian Peninsula and especially Ibrahim H. al-Asiri, known for his unique expertise to build undetected explosive devices to be used  to strike Western civilian aviation targets.  The group is, probably, led by 33 years old Mohsen al-Fahdli al-Kuwaiti (from Kuwait) whose deeds or whereabouts were unknown since early 2008.

A security source in the Middle East told CNN that Mohsen al-Fahdli arrived in Syria in 04/2013 and began working with Jabhat al-Nusra. Nine months later, James Clapper, the head of the USA intelligence community, sounded the first warning about Jabhat al- Nusra’s goals beyond Syria, saying it “does have aspirations for attacks on the homeland.” 

Another key figure in Khorassan appears to be a Saudi national: Abd Al-Rahman Muhammad al-Juhani. Soon after al-Fahdli arrived in Syria, so did al-Juhani — “accompanied by several individuals to participate in the fighting there,” according to a U.S. Treasury Department designation. He was described as “part of a group of senio Al Qaeda members in Syria formed to conduct external operations against Western targets.” 

Abd al-Rahman al-Juhani is also experienced at moving funds and had a senior position in Al Qaeda in Pakistan, running its communications courier network. According to his USA designation, Abd al-Rahman al-Juhani later became Al Qaeda’s chief of security responsible for counterintelligence. Al-Juhani is on Saudi Arabia’s list of its 47 Wanted-list of terror suspects (no’ – 22), published on 09/01/2011, al-Juhani’s skill set would be well-suited to Khorassan’s purported goals. 

 But Khorassan’s existence was publicly acknowledged only when U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said, in mid 09/2014, Khorasa was operating in Iraq and Syria, with a focus on exporting terror to the West. 

There were indications that Khorassan militants had obtained materials and were working on new improvised explosive devices that would be hard to detect, including common hand-held electronic devices and airplane carry-on items such as toiletries.

Aleppo is the major cross road of Muslim, many of them Western citizens, volunteers coming from Turkey to fight in Syria alongside jihadi groups. Khorassan operators tried to convince and persuade those Western-Jihadists not to fight in Syria but to channel their devotion and commitment, to use their Western passports and to return home before being detected by the Western intelligence community, in order to carry out attacks in their homelands, especially the Western civilian aviation targets.

 

Mohsen al-Fahdli‘s new focus on “external operations” was revealed by one of his bodyguards, named as Abu Rama, who was recently arrested by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The source said Mohsen al-Fahdli is trying to emulate the success of I.S.I.S in using social media to recruit Westerners — people who could be trained and then sent home to launch terror attacks.,Mohsen al-Fahdli has been able to recruit a member of I.S.I.S’ media team to help with recruitment for Khorassan (see also – SYRIAN DILEMA ).
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Simultaneously with  anti-I.S.I.S airstrike , by a combined American and Arabs Air forces against the organisation strongholds in Raqqa and Eastern Syria, on Monday 09/22/2014 night, an American airstrike, using Tomahawk Missiles and Stealth F-22 Raptor aircrafts was carried out against Khorassan leadership in in the small town of Kafr Deryan, some 25 miles (40 kilometers) West of Aleppo, in an area controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra, “to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests” according to an unnamed USA official in the Pentagon (see – U.S 2014 Strategy ).
 

 “We believe that the individuals that were plotting and planning it have been eliminated and we’re going to continue… to assess the effectiveness of our strikes going through today,” Pentagon spokesperson Rear Admiral John Kirby said when briefing the American Media after the strikes, on 09/23/2014.   

* A Twitter account run by an Al Qaeda member said, on 09/28/2014, the leader of the Khorassan group, Mohsen al-Fadhli, was, indeed,  killed in the air strike.
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sanafi* The new leader of the Khorassan Group  Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh ( known as Sanafi al-Nasr has been killed in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition in Syria, U.S. officials said, on Sunday 10/18/2015.Sanafi al-Nasr, a Saudi citizen whose real name is Abdul Mohsen Adballah Ibrahim al Charekh, was the highest-ranking member of the Khorasan Group — a collection of veteran al Qaeda jihadis which had moved into Syria, the Pentagon said in a statement.

 

 * Related topics:

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