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Syria: US forces kill senior 'Islamic State' leader

April 4, 2023

Khalid Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri, a senior IS leader tied to planned attacks in Europe, was killed in an unknown location in Syria by US forces.

A file photo of US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress strategic bomber aircraft flying over a desert
A US military strike killed the senior 'Islamic State' leaderImage: picture alliance/ZUMAPRESS

Khalid Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri, a senior leader of the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist group, was killed in a military operation conducted by the US in Syria on Monday, said the US Central Command (CENTCOM) in a statement.

Al-Jabouri was responsible for planning several IS-related attacks in Europe, and developed a leadership structure for the group, said the statement released on Tuesday.

CENTCOM did not specify where exactly the strike took place, but confirmed that "no civilians were killed or injured."

US hopes to temporarily disrupt IS' ability

The influence of IS has diminished since 2019, when it was ousted from its last swath of territory in Syria.

CENTCOM chief General Micheal Kurilla said that even though the group was "degraded," it continued to "conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East."

An Islamic State propoganda photo shows masked, armed IS fighters.
Al-Jabouri's death is expected to 'temporarily disrupt the organization's ability,' the US saidImage: Dabiq/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS/picture alliance

Al-Jabouri's death is expected to "temporarily disrupt the organization's ability to plot external attacks," read the CENTCOM statement.

A continued threat to international peace

During the peak of its power in 2014, IS controlled major parts of Iraq and Syria.

Eventually, the group was beaten back in both countries.

Helping rebuild Syria's Raqqa

The organization, in recent years, has claimed several deadly attacks in Europe, including a November 2015 attack in Paris and its suburbs which killed 130 people.

IS is suspected to still have 5,000 to 7,000 members and supporters between Iraq and Syria, said a UN report in February.

The threat posed by IS to international peace peaked again in the second half of 2022, according to the UN report.

Nearly 900 US troops remain in Syria as part of the US-led coalition battling the remnants of IS.

In 2019, infamous IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a US operation. Last year, the group appointed Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Quraishi as its leader.

ns/es (AFP, Reuters)