ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf was reportedly killed by U.S. Special Operations forces in Syria. Government officials confirmed Sayyaf was shot and killed during a raid on the al-Omar oil field. Although the troops initially planned to capture Sayyaf, he reportedly resisted arrest.
National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Abu Sayyaf oversaw the terrorist organization’s “illicit oil and gas operations.” However, he was also a key figure in ISIS financial and military operations.
The raid, which was authorized by President Barack Obama, took place late Friday night. Although Abu was killed during the operation, his wife, Umm Sayyaf was captured by American troops. As reported by CNN, Umm is currently being detained in Iraq.
— Sherina Sinna (@sherinasinna_) May 16, 2015
According to Meehan, Umm Sayyaf was an instrumental part of ISIS operations. Sources suggest the detainee reported directly to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and may have facilitated the abduction of at least one young woman.
Okay, here is a list of reasons why U.S. targeted Abu Sayyaf, per CNN. But why was his name kept out of spotlight? pic.twitter.com/l3YyXxppyD
— Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) May 16, 2015
Officials confirmed an estimated 19 ISIS militants were killed by U.S. troops during the operation. It is also suggested that important documents and records were seized.
CNN National Security Analyst Peter Bergen said the documents could contain invaluable information about ISIS operations.
“Taking out the guy who runs effectively the most important financing stream is obviously significant, but what’s really significant is the computer records and all the materials that he would have with him as the head of this financing arm.”
During the raid, U.S. Special Operations forces also identified and rescued “a young Yazidi woman,” who was being held against her will.
Meehan confirmed the woman was essentially being “held as slave” by Abu Sayyaf and his wife. Following her rescue, the woman was transported to a secure location where she will be held until she is reunited with her family.
As reported by The New York Times, Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter confirmed “no American forces were killed or injured in the mission.”
Spokeswoman Meehan said the raid was coordinated with officials in Iraq. However, Syrian officials were not informed about the operation.
Although ISIS leader Abu Sayyaf’s death was not planned, officials said he refused to comply with the soldiers’ commands.
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