US says Islamic State commander killed, troops wounded in Syria raid


BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. military said Friday a helicopter raid led by its forces in northeast Syria left a senior leader with the Islamic State group dead and four American service members wounded.

Separately, local media and a monitor group said an IS attack on Friday in central Syria killed dozens of civilians.

The U.S. military said in the short statement that its operation was conducted Thursday night in partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces which is allied with the U.S.

It added that “an explosion on target resulted in four U.S. service members and one working dog wounded." It did not say in which part of northeast Syria the raid was conducted.

It identified the killed IS commander as Hamza al-Homsi.

Despite their defeat in Syria in March 2019, IS sleeper cells still conduct attacks around Syria and Iraq where they once declared a “caliphate.”

On Friday, IS gunmen in central Syria shot dead at least 36 people south of the town of Sukhna, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor.

Pro-government radio station Sham FM reported the militants ambushed people who were foraging for wild truffles in the desert. State television put the death toll at 53.

Joint operations between the U.S. military and SDF fighters are common in northeast and eastern Syria along the border with Iraq.

The statement said the service members and working dog are receiving treatment in a U.S. medical facility in neighboring Iraq.

The U.S. military killed two IS leaders in Syria over the past few years.

In February 2021, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in a U.S. raid in northwest Syria. IS founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hunted down by the Americans in a raid in October 2019.

In October, the leader of IS, A bu al-Hassan al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, was killed in battle with Syrian rebels in southern Syria.