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Washington — The chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee says an al Qaida-linked group was close to being capable of assembling an explosive device that could go undetected through airport security.

Democratic Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan described the imminent threat posed by the Khorasan group that was the target of U.S. airstrikes in Syria.

Levin told defense reporters that U.S. officials had determined that the group had a growing capability to put together an explosive device and was at a critical point in development.

Levin said he was unaware of whether the airstrikes had taken out any of the leaders of the group. The group includes veteran al-Qaida fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan who traveled to Syria to link up with the al-Qaida affiliate there, the Nusra Front.

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