A team of U.S. delta commandos killed an Islamic State midlevel leader during its raid in East Syria on Sunday.
Operators from the Joint Special Operations command raided the city of Deir al-Zour in an attempt to capture and interrogate Islamic State leaders. A firefight broke out during the operation which led to the death of the Islamic State leader sitting inside a car.
The mission was headed by the Expeditionary Targeting Force, an elite force composed of special operations troopers from the famed Delta Force.
The Syrian Observatory for Human rights reported that 25 Islamic State jihadists were killed during the two-hour operation. However, U.S. Department of Defense spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis disputed the report.
Davis said the observatory’s report that 25 were killed was far too high by “orders of magnitude.”
The commando force arrived via helicopter, but when they found their target sitting in a car, jihadists opened fire and the primary target was killed in the crossfire. Another person inside the vehicle also died.
The operation was headed by a small number of elite troops based in Iraq, its mission was to capture jihadist leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.
Col. John Dorrian, spokesperson of the U.S. led coalition, told The Washington Post, “The Coalition can confirm a U.S. operation in the vicinity of Deir al-Zour on Jan. 8… The U.S. and the entire counter-ISIL Coalition will continue to pursue ISIL leaders wherever they are to ensure the security and stability of the region and our homelands.”
The U.S. led coalition usually employ air attacks to hit Islamic State leadership or members, but military officials said the use of ground raids have their proper place and time.
“We’ve done them before and we’ll do them again,” Davis added.