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Nearly 700 Islamic State operatives killed in 2022, US says

Wreckage of a U.S. helicopter that was blown up by U.S. special forces after facing mechanical issues and was no longer operational, on Feb. 4, 2022, in Afrin, Syria. The MH-60 Black Hawk chopper took part in a raid in Atmeh that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi. (Anas Alkharboutli/dpa/Zuma Press/TNS)
December 30, 2022

U.S. military forces and their allies in Iraq and Syria killed almost 700 Islamic State operatives, including several of the organization’s leaders, in 2022, according to the US Central Command.

“The emerging, reliable and steady ability of our Iraqi and Syrian partner forces to conduct unilateral operations to capture and kill ISIS leaders allows us to maintain steady pressure on the ISIS network,” Major General Matt McFarlane, commander of a combined task force in Syria and Iraq, said in a Centcom statement released Thursday.

According to the statement, 466 Islamic State operatives were killed in Syria, and another 220 in Iraq. A total of 374 militants were captured in both countries. “No U.S. forces were injured or killed in these operations,” Centcom said.

Last February, Islamic State leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was killed in northwestern Syria when he detonated a bomb in his apartment as U.S. forces closed in, eliminating what President Joe Biden called a “major terrorist threat.”

Al-Qurayshi had taken over as leader of the terrorist group after his predecessor, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in a U.S. raid in 2019, also in Syria.

In July, the U.S. military said it had killed a top Islamic State leader and seriously wounded another in a drone strike in Syria.

Centcom, which covers the Middle East as well as Central and South Asia, said in the Thursday statement that more than 20,000 Islamic State fighters have been detained in Iraq, and another 10,000 in Syria.

In January, a prison break in Al-Hasakah, Syria, touched off a battle in which hundreds died.

Gen. Michael Kurilla, head of Central Command, warned in the statement that while Islamic State has been weakened, “the vile ideology remains unconstrained. We must continue to pressure ISIS through our partnered operations.”


© 2022 Bloomberg L.P

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