US confirms airstrike in Syria killed al-Qaida commander

TEL AVIV: The US military is confirming that an airstrike in Syria by the US-led coalition has killed a top al-Qaida commander.

The Pentagon says a Saudi national known as Sanafi al-Nasr was "a longtime jihadist experienced in funneling money and fighters" for the terrorist network.

A statement from the US Defence Department says coalition forces conducted the airstrike on Thursday over northwest Syria.

The US says he was a leading figure in the Khorasan group — a secretive cell of al-Qaida operatives who US officials say were sent from Pakistan to Syria to plot attacks against the West.

US Defense Secretary Ash Carter says the military operation "deals a significant blow" to the Khorasan group's plans to attack the US and its allies.

A US official who was not authorized to discuss the strike publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity said an American drone targeted and struck the militant.