US Killed Top ISIS Leader In Somalia Counterterrorism Operation

(Photo by FADEL SENNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
Font Size:

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to include additional reporting from CNN on the counterterrorism operation. 

The U.S. successfully completed a counterterrorism operation in northern Somalia killing a top Islamic State official, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement Thursday.

At President Joe Biden’s order, U.S. forces in Africa conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia on Wednesday, killing senior ISIS leader Bilal al-Sudani and ten additional operatives, Austin said in a statement sent out to reporters. Al-Sudani was described as an ISIS leader and “key facilitator” for the terrorist organization’s global network, responsible for fueling ISIS’ growing foothold in Africa and funding global terrorist operations, including those in Afghanistan, the statement said.

“This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure, and it reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad,” Austin said. (RELATED: The Islamic State Is Back – But Its Focus Has Shifted)

No civilians died in the operation, Austin said. One American troop received an injury after being bitten by an American service dog, CNN reported, citing senior intelligence officials.

“We are grateful to our extraordinary service members as well as our intelligence community and other interagency partners for their support to this successful counterterrorism operation,” Austin said in the statement.

U.S. forces intended to capture Al-Sudani, but the “hostile force’s response” ended in his death, officials told CNN.

The strike against Al-Sudani, who was subject to U.S. sanctions in 2012 for assisting al-Shababb with fundraising and recruitment, spawned months ago, officials told CNN. President Joe Biden greenlighted the operation earlier this week, but his national security team briefed him on intelligence leading to the strike several months in advance, the officials said.

The operation will provide “valuable information” to U.S. intelligence officials, an official told CNN.

A strike against ISIS in Somalia is rare, according to CNN.

The operation came days after U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) conducted an airstrike in Somalia, killing 30 members of the al-Shabaab terrorist network, according to a statement.

U.S. forces in Somalia operate in support of the Somali National Army, carrying out all combat operations against rampant terrorist groups as a partner of the federal military, the statement said.

“The U.S. is one of several countries providing support to the Federal Government of Somalia in its ongoing campaign to disrupt, degrade and defeat terrorist groups,” according to AFRICOM. “Rooting out extremism ultimately requires intervention beyond traditional military means, leveraging U.S. and partner efforts to support effective governance, promote stabilization and economic development, and resolve ongoing conflicts.”

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact