Jul 12, 2022 - World

U.S. drone strike in Syria kills senior ISIS leader

A picture taken on Oct. 13, 2017, shows the Kurdish town of Jindayris near the Syrian-Turkish border, west of the city of Afrin. Turkey-backed Syrian rebels are preparing for an operation to oust jihadists from the northwestern province of Idlib. Photo: Omar Haj Kadour/AFP via Getty Images

A senior ISIS leader was killed in a drone strike conducted by the U.S. military in northwest Syria on Tuesday, U.S. Central Command announced.

Driving the news: Maher al-Agal was the militant group's leader in Syria and one of ISIS' top five in charge.

  • Al-Agal had been responsible for "aggressively pursuing the development of ISIS networks outside of Iraq and Syria," CENTCOM said in the release.
  • CENTCOM did not name the second official targeted in the strike, but noted that a senior ISIS official "closely associated" with Al-Agal was “seriously injured” during the strike.

The big picture: The U.S. military said that an initial review of the strike indicated there were no civilian casualties.

  • However, the White Helmets, a team of first responders operating in northwest Syria, said that one person was killed and another wounded by the strike, with the second later succumbing to their wounds, the Washington Post reported.

What they're saying: "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 Biden said in a statement.

  • "This airstrike represents the culmination of determined and meticulous intelligence work and stands as testament to the bravery and skill of our armed forces," he 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."

Go deeper: ISIS leader captured in U.S.-led raid in Syria

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