French-born bombmaker killed by US air 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, believed to be carrying Drugeon, 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 to Fox they had carried out strikes Wednesday but said they were still assessing the damage and could not confirm Drugeon had been killed.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had said earlier that US-led coalition strikes had overnight hit a vehicle linked to the Al-Nusra group, which is Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch.
The militant group confirmed the strikes on Twitter, saying they were carried out by "the alliance of Crusaders and Arabs on Al-Nusra positions, causing deaths, mostly of civilians.
"Most US air strikes in Syria have targeted the Islamic State militant group, but Washington said on the first day of bombings on September 23 they had also hit the Khorasan group of Al-Qaeda veterans.
Analysts at the time said the strike actually targeted Al-Nusra.
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, part of a wave of militant migration.
CNN last week added that US officials said the French militant has helped facilitate the movement of fighters between Europe and Syria and plan attacks back home.
© 2014 AFP