Special Operations forces conducted a major raid deep inside Syria, killing a senior leader with IS, who was overseeing illegal oil production, said Ashton Carter the Secretary of Defense.
Carter said that Mohammed Shalabi, also known by the name Abu Sayyaf, was killed in the operation when he engaged forces from the U.S.
He said that none of the forces from the U.S. was injured or killed in the raid.
Abu Sayyaf was part of the radical group’s military operations along with helping direct its illegal financial, oil and gas operations, said Carter.
Although Sayyaf was killed in the operation, U.S. forces were able to capture some communications equipment, said sources who know the situation.
A defense official from the U.S. said the U.S. raid was carried out overnight by an Army Delta team of commandos who had flown from Iraq into Syria on an Osprey V-22 aircraft and in Blackhawk helicopters.
When they arrived at their target, which was a building that was multi-story, the U.S. forces came upon stiff resistance. An intense firefight followed including some hand-to-hand combat, according to an official who requested anonymity.
One source said the operation took 30 minutes to complete in the living quarters of an oil field in al-Omar, which houses over 500 families of fighters from IS.
This operation represented another big blow to the IS and is another reminder that the U.S. is not wavering in denying the save haven to all terrorists threatening U.S. citizens and those of allies.
The Obama administration said in another statement that the oil operations of IS are an important source of their revenue enabling them to carry out the tactics they are and oppress thousands of innocent victims.
The U.S. defense secretary said Sayyaf’s wife Umm Sayyaf was suspected of being a IS member who played roles in terrorist activities.