A helicopter raid by U.S. forces in northern Syria early on Monday killed a senior leader of the militant Islamic State group, the U.S. military said.
The U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the IS leader, Abd-al-Hadi Mahmud al-Haji Ali, was “responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe.” Two other alleged IS members, were killed along with al-Haji Ali who was the target of the raid, CENTCOM said. The statement said no civilians or U.S. troops were hurt in the operation.
It said the raid was launched after intelligence uncovered a plan by IS to “kidnap officials abroad as leverage for (IS) initiatives.”
Syria’s White Helmets, a civil defense group operating in opposition-held areas of northern Syria, said it transported two people wounded during the raid to a local hospital, which later said they had died. A third person was killed when the U.S. forces landed for the raid, the White Helmets said.
The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, which partners with the U.S. in anti-IS operations in northeast Syria, said that the operation was launched from a base near the town of Kobani and targeted a military site belonging to a Turkish-backed armed opposition group, Suqour al-Shamal, in the village of Suwayda in the region of Jarablus, near the Turkish border.
Related Story: Pentagon Officials Warn of Islamic State Resurgence in 2023