A senior ISIS leader and bomb-maker has been captured in northern Syria after a daring cross-border helicopter raid that ended in a gun battle.
US-led coalition forces said Thursday they had captured the terrorist commander in a ‘successful’ raid in which none of their troops or civilians were hurt.
They did not give the name of the leader or location of the raid, but sources told US media the commander is Hani Ahmed Al-Kurdi and that he was captured in the village of Al-Humaira, just across the border from Turkey.
A Syria war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the operation began with two helicopters landing near the targeted area in the village of al-Humaira, about 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the Turkish border.
It reported clashes unknown gunmen hiding in houses in the village in the northern Aleppo countryside, as they were chased by members of the coalition. The Observatory is Britain-based and maintains a network of activists on the ground in Syria.
The U.S.-backed forces declared victory over the Islamic State in March 2019 after retaking the last piece of territory held by the group in Syria. But IS continues to operate and carry out deadly attacks in both Iraq and Syria through sleeper cells and maintains several affiliates in various countries.
The coalition has conducted raids in the past to take out leaders of the violent group. In February, the group´s leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi blew himself up along with members of his family as American forces raided his Syria hideout.
His predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, died similarly along with his family in 2019 by detonating a suicide vest in a tunnel in northwest Syria as a military operation unfolded during the Trump administration.
The IS group at the height of its power controlled more than 40,000 square miles stretching from Syria to Iraq and ruled over 8 million people. Its attacks in the region included a major assault last month to seize a prison in northeast Syria holding at least 3,000 IS detainees.