US Syria raids also aimed at thwarting attack plot: Pentagon

US Syria raids also aimed at thwarting attack plot: Pentagon

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US Syria raids also aimed at thwarting attack plot: Pentagon

Fighters from ISIL pray at the spot where the jihadist group said a US drone crashed into a communications tower in the Syrian city of Raqqa early on Sept. 23. AFP Photo

U.S. forces staging the first strikes against Islamic States in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadists in Syria also targeted a separate extremist group plotting an imminent attack against U.S. and Western forces, the Pentagon said.

In the air strikes against ISIL jihadists, the U.S. was aided by Arab allies Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, it said.

Eight U.S. air strikes were also aimed at the hardline Khorasan Group which is made up of former al-Qaeda operatives, the Pentagon said in a statement.

"The United States has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack plotting against the United States and Western interests conducted by a network of seasoned al-Qaeda veterans - sometimes referred to as the Khorasan Group - who have established a safe haven in Syria to develop external attacks, construct and test improvised explosive devices and recruit Westerners to conduct operations," the statement said.

"All aircraft safely exited the strike areas," it added. The U.S. side of the attack featured a mix of fighter, bomber, remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles to conduct 14 strikes against ISIL, which is also known as ISIL.

"The strikes destroyed or damaged multiple ISIL targets... and included ISIL fighters, training compounds, headquarters and command and control facilities, storage facilities, a finance center, supply trucks and armed vehicles," the statement said.  A total of 47 Tomahawk missiles were fired by U.S. ships in the Red Sea and and the North Arabian Gulf.