U.S. airstrikes in Syria "just the beginning"; What is the Khora - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

U.S. airstrikes in Syria "just the beginning"; What is the Khorasan Group?

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KHQ.com -  U.S. Military forces are still adding up the damage of more than two hundred airstrikes Monday night into Tuesday morning, but the Pentagon says these attacks on terrorist targets in Syria are "just the beginning."

President Barack Obama thanked the leaders of five Middle Eastern nations Tuesday for their participation in the first round of airstrikes, which killed at least 120 terrorists and destroyed at least 24 targets.

In a statement, the president says the air campaign sends a clear message, "to anyone who would plot against America and try to do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people."

"The strength of this coalition makes it clear to the world that this is not America's fight alone," President Obama said.

This week at the United Nations, President Obama hopes to grow that coalition even more for a war that the Pentagon says could take years.

When the president spoke about those airstrikes, he also mentioned a separate mission targeting another terror group in Syria that some view as a bigger threat than ISIS.

The Pentagon says the group, known as the Khorasan Group, is seasoned al Qaeda veterans plotting an attack on the U.S.

The U.S. Military says the Khorasan Group is made up from battle-hardened al Qaeda fighters who've traveled from all over the Middle East into Syria. U.S. Central Command says the group is using that country as a safe haven to plan attacks, build and test bombs, and recruit people to carry out their attacks.

The Director of National Intelligence believes the core group is small, but their lone goal is to attack western countries -- meaning their focus is outside of the Middle East region, thus the perceived threat.

The Associated Press reports that the recent ban on uncharged cell phones on airplanes actually stems from what the Khorasan Group was planning.

Tuesday the military learned the group has tested other explosives that they plan to bring on-board planes, but the U.S. government says there's no immediate danger.

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