WASHINGTON - United States forces which bombed Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists in Syria also targeted a separate extremist group plotting an imminent attack against US and Western forces, the Pentagon said yesterday.
Arab allies Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates took part in the strikes, it added.
Eight US air strikes were aimed at the hardline Khorasan Group, which is made up of experienced Al-Qaeda operatives, the Pentagon said in a statement.
"The US has also taken action to disrupt the imminent attack (being plotted) against the US 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 exited the strike areas safely," it added.
The US military used fighter jets as well as remotely piloted aircraft and Tomahawk missiles to conduct 14 strikes against ISIS, 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 centre, supply trucks and armed vehicles," the statement said.
A total of 47 Tomahawk missiles were fired by US ships in the Red Sea and the North Arabian Gulf.
The Khorasan Group is linked to the Al-Nusra Front, which is the Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda.
The US-led air strikes killed at least 120 extremists in Syria yesterday, a monitoring group said. The dead included more than 70 members of ISIS in the north and east of Syria, as well as 50 Al-Qaeda militants, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Eight civilians, among them three children, were killed in US strikes in the west of northern Aleppo province, the observatory said. The group said at least 300 people were injured in the strikes, about 100 of whom were in serious condition.
Syria yesterday said that US Secretary of State John Kerry had told the Damascus government that the US and its allies were about to attack Islamist fighters in Syria, hours before the air strikes took place.
An analyst interviewed on Syrian state TV said the notification meant the air strikes were neither an act of aggression nor an infringement of Syrian sovereignty.
"All the targets and warplanes were monitored by the Syrian air defence," said the analyst, Ali Al-Ahmad. "This does not mean we are part of the joint-operations room, and we are not part of the alliance. But there is a common enemy," he said.