Top ISIS Leader Killed in US Military Operation in Somalia
The US military killed a key ISIS leader and facilitator in a mountainous region of northern Somalia, US officials confirmed in a statement on Thursday.
The New York Times quoted US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin as saying that a senior ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani, was killed in an airstrike in the remote Putland region in northern Somalia on Thursday. He was reportedly responsible for funding the ISIS network’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan.
“On January 25, on orders from the President, the U.S. military conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia that resulted in the death of a number of ISIS members, including Bilal-al-Sudani, an ISIS leader in Somalia and a key facilitator for ISIS’s global network. Al-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan,” the official release of the US Department of Defense quoted Austin as saying.
According to the Pentagon, Al-Sudani sponsored the attack on Kabul Airport in August 2021 that killed at least 170 Afghan civilians and 13 US service members.
Officials at the Biden administration have said that no civilians were harmed in this attack. The operation is said to have taken place in a mountainous area in northern Somalia and followed months of planning, the officials said.
In the US special operations raid on ISIS camps in a cave complex in Somalia, at least 10 other ISIS members were also killed in addition to al-Sudani.
From the al-Sudani hideout, laptop computers and hard drives, cellphones and other information have been obtained that can provide specifics for future counter-terrorism operations.
In Kabul Airport attack in August 2021, during the final US withdrawal from Afghanistan, dozens of Afghan citizens died and 13 American soldiers were killed.