US special operations forces have killed a senior Islamic State group official and 10 other terror operatives in remote northern Somalia, senior Biden administration officials announced Thursday.
The target of the operation was Bilal al-Sudani, a key financial facilitator for the global terrorist organization, found in a mountainous cave complex.
President Joe Biden was briefed last week on the proposed mission, which was carried out after months of planning. This week he gave his final approval to carry out the operation, according to two officials who briefed reporters on the operation on condition of anonymity.
Sudani, who has been in the crosshairs of US intelligence services for years, played a key role in financing the operations of the self-styled Islamic State in Africa, as well as the terrorist branch ISIS-K operating in Afghanistan, according to officials.
He had originally been appointed to the Treasury Department in 2012 for his role with al-Shabab, another terrorist organization, operating in Somalia.
“Given the remote location of the operation, the assessment is that no civilians were injured or killed. The protection of civilians remains a vital part of the command’s operations to promote greater security for all Africans,” the Command said. US Africa in a statement.
An American taking part in the operation was bitten by a military dog but was not seriously injured, according to an administration official.
US officials offered few details about how the operation was carried out or the circumstances surrounding al-Sudani’s killing. An official said that US forces had intended to capture al-Sudani, but that this was not “feasible” while the operation was underway.
The operation comes days after Africa Command said it had carried out a collective self-defense attack northeast of the capital Mogadishu near Galcad. In that incident, Somali National Army forces were engaged in heavy fighting after a prolonged and intense attack by more than 100 al-Shabab fighters.
The United States estimated that some 30 al-Shabab fighters were killed in that operation.
The offensive by Somali forces against Al Shabab has been described as the most significant in more than a decade.
*With PA; adapted from its original English version