U.S. Central Command forces conducted a helicopter raid in Syria on Sunday that killed two officials of the Islamic State (ISIS).
The raid ended the lives of one unnamed official and “Anas, an ISIS Syria Province Official who was involved in the group’s deadly plotting and facilitation operations in eastern Syria,” according to a press release from Central Command.
News of the strike follows an aggressive operational agenda in the area to counter recent attempts of an ISIS insurgence.
“ISIS continues to represent a threat to the security and stability of the region. This operation reaffirms CENTCOM’s steadfast commitment to ensuring the group’s enduring defeat,” said Joe Buccino, a Central Command spokesperson. “The death of these ISIS officials will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out destabilizing attacks in the Middle East.”
American military personnel planned the mission for weeks, with weather delaying the operation, according to the New York Times. Once the weather cleared, U.S. forces flew in with two helicopters to capture Anas. He was shot and killed in an ensuing firefight along with the second unnamed official.
The operation is the most recent that U.S. Central Command forces have carried out in the Middle Eastern nation against the Islamic State. The terrorist group has been largely destroyed, yet it maintains a small presence in Syria.
During October, the U.S. carried out two major strikes against ISIS that killed three senior leaders. One of the attacks killed Wahid al-Shammri, an Islamic State official who the U.S. military said facilitated the smuggling of weapons and fighters, according to Reuters.
In July, U.S. Central Command forces conducted a strike outside Jindayris that killed two senior ISIS officials.
“Maher al-Agal, one of the top five ISIS leaders and the leader of ISIS in Syria, was killed in the strike,” U.S. Central Command Public Affairs announced. “A senior ISIS official closely associated with Maher was seriously injured during the strike. Extensive planning went into this operation to ensure its successful execution. An initial review indicates there were no civilian casualties.”
In February, President Joe Biden announced that U.S. military forces had killed the top ISIS leader in Syria.
“Last night at my direction, U.S. military forces in the northwest (sic) Syria successfully undertook a counterterrorism operation to protect the American people and our Allies, and make the world a safer place,” President Joe Biden said in a statement at the time.
“Thanks to the skill and bravery of our Armed Forces, we have taken off the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi—the leader of ISIS. All Americans have returned safely from the operation,” he added.