The U.S. military killed a high-level ISIS leader during an operation in Africa this past week along with nearly a dozen ISIS operatives.
A senior administration official told CNN that the operation took place in a “mountainous cave complex in northern Somalia” where ISIS was planning its expansion into Africa and beyond.
“Given the remote location of the operation, the assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed,” U.S. Africa Command said in a statement. “Protecting civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote greater security for all Africans.”
The United States announced on Thursday that it conducted a special operations forces (SOF) raid on a hideout of the Islamic State’s branch in Somalia on Wednesday, January 25. During the raid, the SOF troops killed Bilal al-Sudani, an important leader for the Islamic State’s operations across much of eastern, central, and southern Africa and his death was confirmed by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Austin said .”On January 25, on orders from the President, the U.S. military conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia that resulted in the death of ten terrorists, in addition to al-Sudani. Sudani was a key facilitator of ISIS’s global network, and responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa as well funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan.”
One official that spoke to CNN said that U.S. forces wanted to capture al-Sudani alive, but the response from the terrorists ultimately made that impossible, and al-Sudani, along with ten other terrorists, were killed.
This type of raid is a reare occurrence in Somalia, where the U.S. primarily conducts drone strikes against Shabaab, al-Qaeda’s branch in East Africa. That the U.S. put boots on the ground in an Islamic State stronghold to target Sudani shows how important the terrorist operative was to the Islamic State and the United States’ efforts to defeat the group.
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