WASHINGTON — U.S. commandos killed a senior ISIS figure in a helicopter raid in Syria that also left four American troops and a military working dog wounded Thursday night, U.S. Central Command said.
As the U.S. and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces conducted the raid, “an explosion on target” hurt the U.S. service members and dog, who now “are receiving treatment in a U.S. medical facility in Iraq,” according to a CENTCOM statement released Friday.
“The targeted ISIS senior leader, Hamza al-Homsi, was killed,” CENTCOM said. “Hamza al-Homsi oversaw the group’s deadly terrorist network in eastern Syria before he was killed in the raid.”
The explosion was the result of al-Homsi’s detonation of a suicide vest, a U.S. official reportedly told CBS News.
The injured troops will eventually be flown to a U.S. military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, according to the report.
No civilians or Syrian forces were injured in the raid, which happened near the eastern Syria city of Deir ez-Zor, according to CENTCOM. The injured troops and dog were in stable condition.
No other ISIS fighters were killed or captured in the mission, but US troops conducted “a separate ISIS raid that same night [that] resulted in the death of an ISIS assassination cell leader,” CENTCOM said without identifying the terrorist or location targeted by the second raid.
It is not uncommon for ISIS terrorists to take their own lives when cornered by American forces. One year ago, the terror group’s top leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi al-Quraishi, also blew himself up in a blast that killed his entire family during a U.S. raid in the Syrian village of Atmeh.
While ISIS’s so-called caliphate in Syria and Iraq was rolled back in March 2019, the group retains sleeper cells in the region. The U.S. started cracking down on ISIS in a series of raids last year, despite Washington’s reduced footprint in the Middle East after leaving Afghanistan in August 2021.
In addition to al-Quraishi’s death, U.S. troops conducted three other raids on the group, resulting in the deaths of four ISIS leaders, including Maher al-Agal, Syrian province official Anas and weapons smuggler Rakkan Wahid al-Shammari.