US military kills Islamic State official in Somalia

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. special operations forces have killed a senior IS group official and 10 other terrorist operatives in a remote area of ​​northern Somalia, the Biden administration said Thursday.

The operation, carried out on Wednesday, targeted Bilal al-Sudani, a major financial facilitator of a global terrorist organization, at a mountain cave complex.

“This action makes the United States and our partners safer and more secure, and underscores our unwavering commitment to protect Americans from domestic and international terrorist threats,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement. It reflects

President Joe Biden was briefed on the proposed mission last week. He gave final approval to carry out the operation this week on the recommendation of Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley, according to two senior Biden administration officials who briefed reporters on the operation on condition of anonymity. . .

Al-Sudani, who has long attracted the attention of U.S. intelligence agencies, has played a key role in helping IS operations in Africa and funding ISIS-K terrorist branches operating in Afghanistan, Austin said. said.

The US Treasury Department last year alleged that al-Sudani worked closely with another IS operative, Abdellah Hussein Abadigah, to recruit young men in South Africa and send them to arms training camps.

Abadiga, who controlled two mosques in South Africa, used his position to extort money from mosque members. Al-Sudani viewed Abadiga as a credible supporter who could help her IS supporters in South Africa become better organized and recruit new members, according to the Ministry of Finance.

Al-Sudani was originally nominated by the Ministry of Finance in 2012 for a role in Al-Shabaab, another terrorist organization operating in Somalia. According to senior government officials, he helped foreign fighters go to al-Shabaab training camps and facilitated funding for violent extremists in Somalia.

No civilians were injured or killed in the operation, Pentagon officials said. An American who took part in the operation was bitten by a military dog ​​but was not seriously injured, officials said.

U.S. officials provided scant details about how the operation was carried out or the circumstances surrounding al-Sudani’s killing. An official said US forces intended to capture al-Sudani, but that did not prove “feasible” as the operation was carried out.

The operation comes days after Africa Command announced it had conducted a collective self-defense strike northeast of the capital Mogadishu, near Galkad. In that incident, the Somali National Army engaged in heavy fighting after a prolonged and heavy attack by more than 100 al-Shabaab fighters.

The United States estimates that about 30 al-Shabaab fighters were killed in the operation.

The Somali military offensive against al-Shabaab is said to be the most significant in more than a decade.

Al-Shabaab has a bigger footprint in Somalia than IS.