Senior Somali ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani, killed in US raid
A senior Somali ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani, has been killed in a military raid carried out by the U.S Special Operations Forces on a cave complex in northern Somalia on Wednesday night, U.S. officials said on Thursday.
According to a statement from a defence ministry official, Al-Sudani was killed in a firefight along with 10 other fighters, while there were no U.S. casualties in the raid.
“On January 25, on orders from the president, the US military conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia that resulted in the death of a number of ISIS members, including Bilal al-Sudani,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in another statement.
“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 statement said.
“From his mountain base in northern Somalia, he provided and coordinated funding for IS branches, not only in Africa but also Islamic-State Khorasan, the arm operating in Afghanistan.
“Ten years ago, before he joined the Islamic State, Sudani was involved in recruiting and training fighters for the extremist al-Shabaab movement in Somalia.
READ ALSO:Somalia appoints al-Shabaab co-founder as religion minister
“Sudani had a key operational and financial role with specialized skills which made him an important target for US counterterrorism action,” Austin added.
The defence ministry official also said the operation had been prepared over a period of months, with US forces rehearsing at a site built to replicate the terrain where Sudani was hiding.
“President Biden authorized the strike earlier this week after consulting with top defense, intelligence and security officials.
“An intended capture operation was ultimately determined to be the best option to maximize the intelligence value of the operation and increase its precision in challenging terrain.
“However, “the hostile forces’ response to the operation resulted in his death,” the official said.
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