US helicopter raid kills senior ISIS leader in Syria | CNN Politics


A US helicopter raid in northeast Syria targeted a senior ISIS leader and planner early Monday morning, according to a spokesman for US Central Command.

“We believe the raid killed a senior ISIS Syria leader and operational planner responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe,” said Col. Joe Buccino.

Two other armed individuals were also killed in the raid, Buccino said.

No US forces were wounded in the raid and no helicopters were shot down, Buccino added.

On Monday afternoon US Central Command identified the senior ISIS leader as Abd-al-Hadi Mahmud al-Haji Ali, who it said was responsible for planning terror attacks in the Middle East and Europe.

According to CENTCOM, the helicopter raid targeting the senior ISIS leader was launched after the US learned of intelligence revealing an ISIS plot to kidnap officials abroad.

“We know ISIS retains the desire to strike beyond the MIddle East,” said Buccino. “This raid deals a significant blow to ISIS operations in the region but does not eliminate ISIS’ capability to conduct operations.”

No civilians were killed or injured, according to an earlier statement from CENTCOM.

“Though degraded, ISIS remains able to conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East,” Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla said in the statement. “We will continue the relentless campaign against ISIS.”

The US has remained focused on the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq as part of an ongoing campaign to prevent the terror organization from growing again.

One week ago, the US captured an ISIS operative and two of his associates in eastern Syria in another helicopter raid, CENTCOM said.

“Operations against ISIS are important for the security and stability of the region,” Buccino said following the raid.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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