WASHINGTON — The U.S. military carried out a drone strike in Syria on Tuesday that officials said killed a senior Islamic State commander, the third major U.S. counterterrorism operation in the northwest of the country in the past month. .
The attack killed the leader of the terrorist group’s Syrian branch, one of its top five global leaders, and seriously injured another militant, according to statements from the White House and the military’s Central Command. The military said Mr al-Agal was responsible for “actively seeking to develop the ISIS network outside Iraq and Syria”.
“His death in Syria removes a key terrorist from the battlefield and significantly reduces ISIS’s ability to plan, resource and conduct operations in the region,” President Biden said in a statement.
“It sends a powerful message to all terrorists who threaten our homeland and our interests around the world,” he added. “The United States will spare no effort to bring you to justice.”
The drone strike is the latest in a series of U.S. military operations against Islamic State and al-Qaeda in Syria that have been relatively rare since the fall of the Islamic State’s so-called caliphate in 2019.
The Age of American Airstrikes Survey
The Times report helped shed light on the toll of U.S. air battles in the Middle East and Afghanistan.
Army Delta Force commandos captured ISIS top bomb maker and operational facilitator Hani Ahmed al-Kurdi, also known as Sali, in a ground attack in Aleppo, Syria, on June 16. um. Nine days later, the United States carried out an airstrike in Idlib province that the military said killed Abu Hamzah al Yemeni, a senior leader of al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, Hurras al-Din.
The U.S. attack on Tuesday came as Biden was preparing to leave for Israel and Saudi Arabia, his first trip to the Middle East as president. The visit will focus primarily on Iran’s nuclear program and malign activity in the region. A White House official said Monday, Russia is seeking hundreds of surveillance drones From Iran, including those capable of firing missiles, used in the Ukrainian war.
The smoldering threat posed by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State remains a vivid reminder that some 10,000 fighters have moved to guerrilla operations in Iraq and Syria since the fall of the caliphate, U.S. intelligence officials say.
In early February, U.S. special operations forces carried out a dangerous pre-dawn raid in northwest Syria that killed the Islamic State’s general leader, Abu Ibrahim Hashemi QuraishiThe two-hour attack by helicopter commandos came days after the largest U.S. engagement in fighting with the Islamic State since the end of the caliphate ended.U.S. troops back Kurdish-led militias in northeastern Syria Because it fought for over a week Deport ISIS fighters from the prison they occupied in the city of Hasakah.
Hundreds of people were killed in the fighting, counterterrorism experts said, providing stark evidence of the group’s ability to continue to sow chaotic violence.
The US operation that killed Mr. al-Qurayshi in February was similar to the October 2019 attack in which former Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died by detonating a suicide vest during a US military raid on a hideout. Near where Mr. al-Qurayshi was.
“It is clear that members of ISIS have taken root in northwest Syria, even as their leaders continue to be arrested and killed there,” Colin P. “It seems more likely that they have extremely limited options and that their freedom of movement is limited to a few areas where they feel they can integrate with other jihadists and large numbers of civilians.”