A U.S. drone targeted and is believed to have killed French bomb maker David (Daoud) Drugeon, a 24-year-old convert to Islam and member of the Khorasan Group, Fox News has learned.
A senior U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox late Thursday that latest U.S. intelligence suggests Drugeon is dead.
The drone struck a vehicle traveling in Syria's Idlib province that was believed to be carrying Drugeon. The driver of the vehicle is thought to have lost a leg and was expected to die, according to sources with knowledge of the operation. A second person thought to be Drugeon was killed, according to well-placed military sources.
U.S. defense officials confirmed that the U.S. had carried out airstrikes against the Khorasan group Wednesday.
A Pentagon spokesman could not confirm earlier this week whether the 47 Tomahawk missiles fired on Sept. 22 had killed their intended targets in the Khorasan Group. On Wednesday, U.S. warplanes also struck separate Khorasan targets in the Idlib province of northern Syria. New intelligence in recent days tipped off coalition warplanes to the Al Qaeda bomb maker's location. U.S. defense sources confirm that Drugeon was the target of that strike.
After Fox News first reported the strike, the U.S. military put out a statement confirming airstrikes were conducted Wednesday night against five Khorasan Group targets. The military said they have "initial indications that it resulted in the intended effects by striking terrorists and destroying or severely damaging several Khorasan Group vehicles and buildings."
Pentagon Spokesman Col. Steve Warren said Thursday the strikes involved both manned and unmanned aircraft -- including an MQ-9 Reaper, B-1 bombers and F-16 fighters.
It was only the second time since US airstrikes began in Syria Sept. 22 that U.S. coalition planes have targeted the Khorasan Group - a coterie of hardened Al Qaeda fighters and bomb makers who have settled in Syria in recent years. According to French Express reporter Eric Pelletier, who documented Drugeon's life as one of the most wanted Al Qaeda bomb makers, Drugeon was born in 1989 and converted to Islam after his parents divorced when he was 14.
In 2010, Drugeon travelled to Egypt to learn Arabic and then went to Pakistan to join an Al Qaeda faction fighting US troops in Afghanistan. In Pakistan he learned to make bombs. French intelligence sources believe he developed a method to dip clothes in explosives that could pass through airport security undetected.