What is the Khorasan Group and why it is regarded as much of a danger as IS?
Shortly before the United States and its Arab allies launched air strikes on Islamic State (IS) positions across Syria on Tuesday, cruise missiles launched from US warships in the Gulf and Red Sea struck two areas west of the city of Aleppo.
The targets were not leaders of IS, the jihadist group that has declared the creation of a caliphate in the large swathes of Syria and Iraq under its control, but seasoned al-Qaeda operatives who the US says had established a safe haven to plot attacks on the West.
The missiles targeted training camps, a bomb factory, a communication building, and command-and-control facilities belonging to what Washington calls “the Khorasan Group”.
Until then, very little information about the shadowy organisation had been made public, although American politicians had been given classified briefings.
“This is a group that has been known to us for two years,” US Attorney General Eric Holder told Yahoo News.
“We hit them last night out of a concern that they were getting close to an execution date of some of the plans that we have seen.”
Since they are planning direct attacks on the West and the US they are considered a danger. They are hiding in Syria because they thought it was a safe haven as they developed their plans and bombs.