A leader of the Islamic State group, identified as Bilal al-Sudani, and “about ten people” linked to the terrorist organization, were killed on Wednesday in a US raid in Somalia, the US executive said on Thursday.
“Al-Sudani was responsible for encouraging the growing presence of the Islamic State group in Africa and financing its operations around the world, including in Afghanistan,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
This operation, prepared for “several months”, caused no casualties either in the civilian population or among the American military, said a senior White House official during an interview with journalists.
Biden’s green light
President Joe Biden gave the green light to the operation this week, after consulting with top defense and intelligence officials, she said.
“It was ultimately decided that a capture (of the jihadist) was the best option to get as much intelligence as possible from the operation,” said another US official. But “the response of enemy forces led to his death”.
The senior official, who did not wish to be identified, said the raid was preceded by “intensive rehearsals” by US forces, at sites “specifically constructed” to mimic the terrain where it took place, a cave in the mountains of northern Somalia. “We were ready to capture al-Sudani,” she said.
Hunt for terrorists
Joe “Biden has made it very clear that we are determined to find and eliminate all terrorist threats against the United States and against the American people, wherever they are, even in the most remote places,” said another. White House official. The only injured American is a soldier injured by his service dog.
The US military, which has a base in Djibouti, has been conducting operations in Somalia for several years, in cooperation with the regular Somali army and on behalf of the government.
These are mainly air strikes against radical Islamists Shebab, linked to Al-Qaeda, carried out from abroad, but it also conducts ground operations in the country, between two and four per year.
Last August, the leader of Al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed on his balcony in Afghanistan by an American drone strike.