Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Thursday said that US forces conducted a raid in northern Somalia that resulted in the killing of a senior ISIS leader, Bilal al-Sudani, in a rare US operation in the country that didn’t target al-Shabaab.
A Biden administration official quoted by The New York Times said the raid also killed 10 Sudanese ISIS associates. Both Austin and administration officials claimed no civilians were killed, but they shared few details about the raid, and the Pentagon is notorious for undercounting or simply lying about civilian casualties.
The US has launched frequent raids and airstrikes against ISIS in Syria over the past year and always claims senior leaders are killed but never offers any kind of evidence for its claims. Austin claimed that al-Sudani “was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan.”
The administration official said the raid was carried out by US special operations forces who planned on capturing al-Sudani, but the response from his associates “resulted in his death.” US officials said the operation took place at a cave complex in northern Somalia but didn’t get more specific than that.
The raid came as the US has been escalating its airstrikes against al-Shabaab. US Africa Command reported two airstrikes so far this month that the command claimed killed a total of 32 al-Shabaab fighters. In 2022, US airstrikes in Somalia rose by 30% as the US-backed Mogadishu-based government launched an offensive against al-Shabaab.
Similar to US operations against ISIS, there is virtually no accountability for the US air war against al-Shabaab as the conflict receives virtually no Western media coverage.
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.