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U.S. Drone Strike Kills an Islamic State Group Leader in Syria, the Defense Department Says

In this image from video released by the U.S. Air Force, a Russian SU-35 flies near a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, over Syria (U.S. Air Force via AP)
In this image from video released by the U.S. Air Force, a Russian SU-35 flies near a U.S. Air Force MQ-9 Reaper drone on Wednesday, July 5, 2023, over Syria (U.S. Air Force via AP)

A U.S. drone strike killed an Islamic State group leader in Syria hours after the same MQ-9 Reaper drones were harassed by Russian military jets over the western part of the country, according to the Defense Department.

Three Reapers had been flying overhead searching for the militant on Friday, a U.S. defense official said, when they were harassed for about two hours by Russian aircraft. Shortly after that, the drones struck and killed Usamah al-Muhajir, who was riding a motorcycle in the Aleppo region, said the official, who was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and spoke on condition of anonymity to describe details of the military operation.

The official said al-Muhajir was in northwest Syria at the time of the strike, but that he usually operated in the east.

It was not immediately clear how the U.S. military confirmed that the person killed was al-Muhajir; no other details were provided.

In a statement Sunday, U.S. Central Command said there are no indications any civilians were killed in the strike. The military was assessing reports a civilian may have been injured.

Related Story: U.S. Resume Talks with Iran Over Nuke Program as Tehran Targets U.S. Troops in Syria

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