Somalia: US military kills senior Islamic State leader Bilal al-Sudani

A member of U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces burning an IS flag. (Photo: AP/File)

The Biden administration stated that US special operations soldiers killed a senior Islamic State group official and ten other terrorists in rural northern Somalia.

Wednesday's operation targeted Bilal al-Sudani, a key financial facilitator for a worldwide terrorist organization, in a labyrinth of mountain caves.

This move makes the United States and its allies safer and more secure. It demonstrates our unwavering dedication to safeguarding Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad, according to a statement by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

President Joe Biden was informed of the potential mission, which resulted from months of planning, last week.

Following the recommendation of Austin and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Mark Milley provided final authority to carry out the operation this week, according to two senior Biden administration officials who briefed reporters on the process under the condition of anonymity.

Al-Sudani, who has been on the US intelligence community's radar for years, had a crucial role in funding IS operations in Africa and the ISIS-K terrorist branch in Afghanistan, according to Austin.

Last year, the US Treasury Department stated that al-Sudani collaborated closely with another IS operative, Abdella Hussein Abadigga, who recruited and trained young men in South Africa.

Abadigga, who controlled two mosques in South Africa, extorted money from the mosques' followers. Treasury reports that Al-Sudani viewed Abadigga as a loyal follower who could help are supporters in South Africa become better organized and recruit recruits.

The Treasury Department designated Al-Sudani in 2012 for his role with al-Shabab, another Somalia-based terrorist organization. A senior government official said he assisted foreign fighters in travelling to an al-Shabab training camp and provided finance for deadly extremists in Somalia.

According to Pentagon authorities, no civilians were hurt or killed during the operation. According to an administration official, one American who participated in the process was bitten by a military dog but was not gravely hurt.

US officials released minimal information regarding the execution of the operation and the circumstances surrounding al-death. Sudani's One officer stated that US soldiers hoped to seize al-Sudani, but it was not possible given the events of the operation.

The action occurred days after Africa Command announced it had conducted a collective self-defence strike in Galcad, northeast of the capital Mogadishu. Following a prolonged and violent assault by more than 100 al-Shabab fighters, Somalia National Army personnel engaged in severe battle throughout this incident.

The United States estimated that perhaps thirty al-Shabab fighters were killed during this operation.

The offensive against al-Shabab by Somalian forces has been hailed as the most significant in almost a decade.

IS has a far smaller presence in Somalia than in Al-Shabab.

Publish : 2023-01-27 10:36:00

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