US raid kills two ISIS militants in eastern Syria

Terrorist group attacked weeks after naming Abu Al Hussaini Al Qurashi as new leader

US Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle jets used by Centcom in Syria. AFP
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The US military has killed two ISIS militants in a helicopter raid in eastern Syria, US Central Command said on Sunday.

The raid, which took place early on Sunday morning, was carried out by Centcom forces.

“Extensive planning went into this unilateral operation to ensure its success,” Centcom said.

It said one of the officials killed was a “Syria Province Official who was involved in the group's deadly plotting and facilitation operations in eastern Syria”.

“ISIS continues to represent a threat to the security and stability of the region. This operation reaffirms Centcom's steadfast commitment to ensuring the group's enduring defeat,” said spokesman Joe Buccino.

“The death of these ISIS officials will disrupt the terrorist organisation's ability to further plot and carry out destabilising attacks in the Middle East.”

The raid comes less than two weeks after the terrorist organisation named Abu Al Hussaini Al Qurashi as its new leader.

Al Hussaini replaced Abu Al Hassan Al Hashimi Al Qurashi, who was killed by remnants of the Free Syrian Army in Deraa province in October.

The US has conducted raids against ISIS holdouts in Syria since the group lost control of captured territory in early 2019, having been largely defeated by US-backed Kurdish militias in eastern Syria. It lost its stronghold of Raqqa after suffering massive casualties in Iraq in the 2016-17 battle of Mosul.

In pictures: operations against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

The last major US raid to kill an ISIS leader using ground forces was aimed at Al Qurashi, who blew himself up as soldiers approached his hideout in Atme in Idlib, a governorate controlled by Islamist extremists linked to Al Qaeda. His wife and children died in the blast.

Most famously, US Special Forces cornered and killed ISIS founder Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in October 2019, also during an operation in Idlib. Al Baghdadi was one of the founding members of the group in Iraq, overseeing its rise from a rural insurgency to the world's most powerful terrorist organisation, controlling about a third of Iraq and much of eastern Syria.

In June, another Special Forces helicopter raid led to the death of Rakkan Wahid Al Shammri, a member of the terrorist group accused of obtaining arms and funding.

Updated: December 11, 2022, 5:54 PM