The most wanted senior Islamic State (ISIS) leader Bilal-al-Sudani was killed in a US counter-terrorism operation in northern Somalia, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed in a statement on Thursday.
No civilians were harmed during the operation that killed a number of other ISIS members in the assault operation that the US conducted on orders from President Joe Biden.
“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 Defence quoted Austin as saying.
“This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure, and it reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. No civilians were harmed as a result of this operation. We are grateful to our extraordinary service members as well as our intelligence community and other interagency partners for their support to this successful counterterrorism operation,” Austin added.
Prior to last year’s end, US forces conducted an airstrike in Syria that resulted in the deaths of two senior ISIS figures, CNN reported.
Notably, in Somalia till date, the military operations have only paid heed to al-Shabaab fighters which are the dominant militant group in the region. According to the first official, al-Sudani received sanctions from the US Treasury in 2012 for facilitating foreign fighters’ travel to an al-Shabaab training camp and providing funding.