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Pentagon says US drone strike kills 'IS' chief in Syria

July 12, 2022

A leader of the "Islamic State" in Syria has been killed in a US military air strike, according the Pentagon. The killing represents a further blow to the militant group as it tries to reorganize.

A photo showing militants hold riffles with the IS flag in the background
Washington says IS group continues to pose a risk to the US and its alliesImage: Dabiq/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS/picture alliance

Maher al-Agal, a leader of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, has been killed in a US drone strike, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Al-Agal is one of the top five leaders of the militant group. Sources say he was responsible for developing IS networks outside Syria and Iraq.

Sources said al-Agal was killed while riding a motorcycle near Jindayris in Syria, and one of his top aides was seriously injured.

"Extensive planning went into this operation to ensure its successful execution," a statement from the US Central Command said. It added that an initial review indicated there were no civilian casualties.

The statement said IS "continues to represent a threat to the US and partners in the region."
The top leader of the IS group blew himself up during a US military raid in Syria in February.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed that al-Agal was killed in a drone strike. According to the war monitor, he was a former prominent commander of IS during its control of Raqqa.

The volunteer Syrian Civil Defense Force, also known as the "White Helmets," said one person was killed and another injured in a strike that targeted a motorcycle outside Aleppo, but did not identify the victims.

IS militants proclaimed their so-called "caliphate'' across vast swaths of both Iraq and Syria in 2014, with the Syrian city of Raqqa as their de-facto capital. At the height of its power, IS controlled more than 100,000 square kilometers (40,000 square miles) of territory and ruled over 8 million people.

Although they were largely defeated in 2019, IS sleeper cells still carry out deadly attacks.

rc/fb (AFP, Reuters)