US says it has killed ISIL leader in Syria

The US says the raid outside Jandaris, northwest Syria, killed Maher al-Agal and ‘seriously injured’ one of his associates.

The Pentagon says it killed a leader of the Islamic State in Syria in a drone strike.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers search for Islamic State militants in Hassakeh, Syria, in January [File: Baderkhan Ahma/AP Photo]

The US military says it has killed the leader of ISIL (ISIS) group in Syria in a drone strike outside Jandaris, northwest Syria, with another senior ISIL official “seriously injured”.

Maher al-Agal, one of the top five ISIL leaders was killed, said US Central Command (CENTCOM) on Tuesday in a statement.

It did not name the second ISIL official.

Al-Agal was responsible for “aggressively” developing the group’s networks outside Iraq and Syria, CENTCOM said.

“The removal of these ISIS leaders will disrupt the terrorist organization’s ability to further plot and carry out global attacks,” said Colonel Joe Buccino, a CENTCOM spokesperson.

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

ISIL has not yet confirmed al-Agal’s death.

In February, US President Joe Biden announced ISIL leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi had been killed in a US raid.

Al-Qurayshi blew himself up on February 3 up as US forces raided the compound in the northeastern Syrian town of Atmeh where he lived. He had barricaded his family in the building and detonated a bomb as the special forces closed in.

That US operation was the second time in three years the US had killed a top ISIL leader.

ISIL acknowledged al-Qurayshi’s death in March and named a new leader.

In 2014 at the height of its power, ISIL ruled over about eight million people, controlling a third of Syria and Iraq.

The group has since lost almost all of its territory, with leaders and fighters in carrying out armed attacks in the region.

Source: Al Jazeera