A senior leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Hamza al-Homsi, was reportedly killed in a helicopter raid carried out by the United States military in northeast Syria, according to a statement released on Friday. The operation, conducted on Thursday night in collaboration with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, left four American service members and a working dog wounded, the statement added. A U.S. official familiar with the matter revealed to CBS news that Homsi detonated a suicide vest, causing injuries to the four Americans and the dog. The injured service members are currently being transported to Landstuhl in Germany.
Homsi was responsible for overseeing ISIS' terrorist network in eastern Syria, said U.S. Central Command spokesman Col. Joe Buccino. According to Buccino, no other ISIS fighters were captured or killed in the operation, and there were no injuries reported among SDF forces. Initial assessments suggest that there were no civilian casualties. Buccino further reported that the Americans and the dog are now in stable condition.
The US military did not disclose the specific location in northeast Syria where it conducted the recent raid that resulted in the death of the senior ISIS leader. Despite the group's defeat in Syria in March 2019, ISIS sleeper cells continue to carry out attacks in various regions of Syria and Iraq, where they once declared a "caliphate". Joint operations between the U.S. military and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters are a common occurrence in the northeast and eastern parts of Syria, particularly along the border with Iraq.
The injured American service members and working dog are currently receiving treatment at a U.S. medical facility in neighboring Iraq, according to the statement released by the military. The U.S. military has carried out successful raids against ISIS leaders in Syria in the past few years, including the killing of Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi in a raid in northwest Syria in February 2021. The group's founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was also hunted down and killed by American forces in a raid in October 2019.