IS chief planning Europe attacks killed in US Syria strike

WASHINGTON (AFP): US forces have conducted a strike in Syria killing senior Islamic State group leader Khalid Aydd Ahmad al-Jabouri, “responsible for planning (IS) attacks into Europe”, US Central Command said Tuesday.

CENTCOM’s statement gave no details of where in Syria the strike was carried out on Monday but said “no civilians were killed or injured.”

“Though degraded”, the jihadist group, which was ousted from its last territory in Syria in 2019, “remains able to conduct operations within the region with a desire to strike beyond the Middle East,” said CENTCOM chief General Michael Kurilla.

Jabouri also “developed the leadership structure for IS” and his death will “temporarily disrupt the organisation’s ability to plot external attacks,” CENTCOM said.

IS has claimed a number of deadly attack in Europe in recent years, including a November 2015 attack in Paris and its suburbs that killed 130 people and another attack in the French city of Nice in July 2016 that killed 86 people.

Some 900 US troops remain in Syria, most in the Kurdish-ruled northeast, as part of a US-led coalition battling remnants of IS who remain active in both Syria and neighbouring Iraq, operating out of hideouts in desert and mountain area.

In October 2019, Washington announced it had killed IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in an operation in northwestern Syria.