WASHINGTON — The US military eliminated “a number of ISIS members” — including one of the terrorist group’s top operatives — in a Wednesday strike in northern Somalia, the Pentagon announced Thursday.
ISIS leader Bilal al-Sudani, who was a “key facilitator for ISIS’s global network,” was among the multiple terrorists killed in the “assault operation” ordered by President Biden, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
“[A]l-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan,” he said. “This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure.”
Austin did not say how many other ISIS members were killed during the operation, but troops reportedly were met with a “hostile force” while attempting to capture al-Sudani. No civilians were harmed in the incident, according to CNN. Otherwise, the ISIS leader could have been taken alive.
No civilians or American troops were killed during the operation, according to the Pentagon.
Austin credited “our extraordinary service members as well as our intelligence community and other interagency partners” with bringing about the “successful counterterrorism operation.”
While the US military frequently focuses on Somalia’s al-Shabaab fighters, it has rarely targeted ISIS members in the country. Most of the US strikes on ISIS last year occurred in Syria.