ISIS leader in Syria was killed in drone strike, Pentagon says

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday that a leader of the Islamic State group in Syria was killed in a drone strike.

U.S. Central Command said in a statement that Maher al-Agal, a high ranking leader of ISIS, was killed in an airstrike in northwestern Syria. Maher was responsible for “aggressively pursuing the development of ISIS networks outside of Iraq and Syria,” according to the statement.

In addition, “A senior ISIS official closely associated with Maher was seriously injured during the strike,” CENTCOM said. No civilian casualties were reported.

“This strike reaffirms CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS,” said spokesperson Col. Joe Buccino. “The removal of these ISIS leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks.”

“ISIS continues to represent a threat to the U.S. and partners in the region,” Buccino added. “CENTCOM maintains a sufficient and sustainable presence in the region and will continue to counter threats against regional security.”

“His death in Syria takes a key terrorist off the field and significantly degrades the ability of ISIS to plan, resource, and conduct their operations in the region,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on Tuesday in response to the incident.

“This airstrike represents the culmination of determined and meticulous intelligence work and stands as testament to the bravery and skill of our armed forces,” Biden added. “It also demonstrates that the United States does not require thousands of troops in combat missions to identify and eliminate threats to our country.”

As USA TODAY noted, this news comes months after the head of the group, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, killed himself during a February raid of his hideout by U.S. special operations forces. Al-Qurayshi reportedly blew himself up along with members of his family.



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