FISM Staff Reporter, with contributions from Reuters
The U.S. military carried out a ground raid of a secretive cave complex in northern Somalia on Wednesday taking out a senior Islamic State leader in the process, according to the Pentagon.
Bilal al-Sudani, a U.S.-designated ISIS leader in Somalia, was killed in the operation along with about 10 of his associates.
The operation was approved by President Joe Biden earlier this week according to officials.
“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,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
“Al-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan,” Austin continued.
He praised the actions of the service members who carried out the attack as well as the intelligence community for their role in the operation.
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,” Austin added.
U.S. officials briefed reporters further on the operation saying that it was the fulfillment of a months-long effort by multiple government agencies. They also stated that Al-Sudani was a target of the intelligence community because he was a notorious extremist who had a “long history as a terrorist in Somalia.”