BEIRUT (AP) — A U.S. official says the aim had been to capture not kill, but U.S. Army commandos met stiff resistance from Islamic State militants as they carried out a raid deep inside Syria before dawn today.
Officials say the target was Abu Sayyaf, a militant described as the Islamic State’s head of oil operations. He was killed along with an estimated dozen IS fighters. The officials say Abu Sayyaf was a known associate of the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and likely knew about more than just the financial side of the group’s operations.
Despite the U.S. claims, however, much about Abu Sayyaf remains was in question. The name has rarely been mentioned in Western reports about the extremist group and he is not known to be among terrorists for whom the U.S. has offered a bounty.
Abu Sayyaf’s wife was captured in the raid, and officials say she is in U.S. custody and being questioned. National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan says the goal is to gain intelligence about IS operations and any information about hostages, including American citizens, who may be held by the group.
Meehan says no American was killed or wounded in the operation.