French bombmaker killed by US strike in Syria: report
US-led air strikes in Syria have killed 24-year-old French bombmaker David Drugeon, a Muslim convert who joined an al-Qaeda offshoot, the Khorasan group, Fox News reported Thursday.
A strike by a US Predator drone struck a vehicle in Syria's Idlib province, in which Drugeon was believed to be traveling, the media group said.
The car's driver lost a leg and was not expected to live, while a passenger believed to be Drugeon was killed, Fox said, citing "well-placed military sources.
"US officials confirmed they had carried out strikes Wednesday but said they could not confirm Drugeon had been killed.
"We are still assessing the outcome of the attack," a Pentagon spokesman, Colonel Steven Warren, told AFP.
He said "initial indications" suggest the strikes destroyed or severely damaged "several Khorasan Group vehicles, terrorists and buildings assessed to be meeting and staging areas, IED-making facilities and training facilities.
"Most US air strikes in Syria have targeted the Islamic State group, but Washington said on the first day of bombings on September 23 they had also hit the Khorasan group -- a cell of Al-Qaeda veterans planning attacks against the West.
Analysts at the time said the strike actually targeted the Al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch.
There have been no reported strikes on groups outside IS since, but this second attack comes after Al-Nusra made gains against Western-backed rebel fighters in the Idlib region.
Drugeon, who hails from Brittany in western France, reportedly joined an al-Qaeda faction in Pakistan fighting US troops in neighboring Afghanistan in 2010.
He learned to make bombs there, and, according to reports citing French intelligence sources, developed a method to escape airport security by dipping clothing in explosives.
At some point last year or early this year, Drugeon is believed to have traveled to Syria to join the Khorasan group.
CNN, citing US officials, said the French militant has helped facilitate the movement of fighters between Europe and Syria, and worked to plan attacks back home.
© 2014 AFP