By: Micaela Burrow, Daily Caller News Foundation
The U.S. killed a senior Islamic State (ISIS) leader responsible for planning terrorist attacks across Europe in Syria on Monday, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said in a statement.
Khalid ‘Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri masterminded several planned incidents in Europe and helped develop the leadership structure for a violent jihadist organization that once controlled vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, CENTCOM said in a statement released Tuesday morning. No civilians died during the operation, the U.S. military said, adding that the strike will “temporarily disrupt the group’s ability to plot external attacks,” according to Reuters.
“Though degraded, the group remains able to conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael E. Kurilla said in the statement.
ISIS “continues to represent a threat to the region and beyond,” he said, Reuters reported.
Currently, ISIS is estimated to consist of between 5,000 to 7,000 members or supporters in two countries and has spawned numerous powerful affiliates throughout the Middle East, central Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. A global anti-ISIS coalition territorially defeated the organization in 2014, and the U.S. maintains about 900 in Syria whose mission is to advise local forces in countering ISIS.
No coalition partners participated in the strike, the statement said, according to CNN. It added that the U.S. is committed to fully defeat ISIS and that work “alongside partner forces in Iraq and Syria continues.”
The threat ISIS posed to Syria and nearby regions remained high at the tail end of 2022, a U.N. report found.
In late February, the U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces partner militia jointly conducted a helicopter raid that killed Hamza al-Homsi, another senior ISIS official. The raid wounded four U.S. troops and one working dog after an explosion “close to” al-Homsi.
In a Feb. 10 raid, coalition forces killed Ibrahim Al Qahtani, a senior ISIS leader who helped execute prison breaks of militants sympathetic to the terrorist organization in Syria. U.S. forces in Syria captured two ISIS militants during a raid conducted jointly with an unnamed Syrian resistance group in late January.
Not much is known about al-Jabouri aside from what CENTCOM has chosen to reveal in the statement, Bill Roggio, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and editor of the Long War Journal, told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
“A lot of these guys are unknowns — in the sense there isn’t info in the public domain,” he said.
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