U.S. special forces killed a senior Islamic State commander during a raid overnight Friday in eastern Syria, the Pentagon said Saturday.
The White House identified the militant as Abu Sayyaf and said commandos also captured his wife, Umm Sayyaf, and freed a young Yazidi woman who appears to have been held as a slave by the couple.
While the raid involved a “fairly intense firefight,” including hand-to-hand combat, according to the Associated Press, no U.S. forces were killed or injured in the operation, National Security Council Spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said Saturday.
“We suspect that Umm Sayyaf is a member of ISIL, played an important role in ISIL’s terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in the enslavement of the young woman rescued last night,” Meehan said.
During the raid, officials said they also confiscated “reams” of ISIS computer data, according to news reports.
The U.S. estimates that about a dozen ISIS fighters were killed but said no civilians were wounded, the AP reported.
Sayyaf was a senior ISIS leader who oversaw the terrorist organization’s illicit oil and gas operations, which allowed the group “to carry out their brutal tactics and oppress thousands of innocent civilians,” the NSC said in a statement.
Umm Sayyaf is currently in U.S. military detention in Iraq, and officials said they intend to reunite the Yazidi woman with her family as soon as possible.
A U.S. defense officials said the raid was conducted by a team of Army Delta commandos who flew from Iraq into eastern Syria aboard V-22 Osprey aircraft and Blackhawk helicopters, the AP reported.
While U.S. forces have been striking ISIS militants in Syria for months, this was only the second time troops have carried out a ground raid, the AP reported. The first operation was aimed at rescuing Americans held hostage, but was unsuccessful.
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