US Military Confirms: June 19 Airstrike in Syria Killed Top Terrorist Leader in ISIS

On June 19, U.S. military officials confirmed that an airstrike in Syria over the weekend resulted in the death of a top ISIS terrorist leader.

The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) announced on June 19 that it carried out the strike that killed Usamah Jamal Muhammad Ibrahim al-Janabi, described as a “senior ISIS official and facilitator.”

According to the statement, al-Janabi’s death will disrupt ISIS’s ability to “resource and conduct terror attacks.” CENTCOM also confirmed that no civilians were harmed in the airstrike.

“CENTCOM, alongside allies and partners in the region, will continue to execute operations to degrade ISIS operational capabilities and ensure its enduring defeat,” the statement concluded.

Since the early 2010s, when the civil war in Syria began, the United States has consistently targeted leaders of the terrorist group, which has recently resurged in other parts of the world.

The group’s most notorious leader and founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, took his own life during a U.S. special forces raid in northwestern Idlib Province, Syria, in October 2019. Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, who became the group’s second leader, also killed himself during a U.S. forces raid in February 2022.

At the end of last month, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) announced that an airstrike in Somalia targeted ISIS terrorists, killing at least three and resulting in no civilian casualties.

The strikes come as multiple current and former U.S. officials have increasingly warned about the resurgence of the group, particularly its Afghanistan-based offshoot ISIS-K, or ISIS-Khorasan.

Earlier this year, ISIS-K claimed responsibility for a terrorist attack in Moscow that killed at least 140 people.

On June 16, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Turner (R-Ohio) warned that the United States is facing the “highest level” of risk for a possible terrorist attack. He suggested that the situation at the U.S.–Mexico border could allow ISIS-aligned terrorists to infiltrate the country. His comments came in response to reports that several illegal immigrants with ties to ISIS-K were arrested this month.

“What’s important about these reports and what we’re seeing, especially in conjunction with [FBI] Director [Christopher] Wray’s public statements, that we are at the highest level of a possible terrorist threat, that the administration’s policies have absolutely directly related to threats to Americans,” Mr. Turner told CBS News.

Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), requesting a classified briefing for all senators on ISIS threats, Graham told Fox News on June 12.

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In recent months, the FBI director expressed increasing concern about terrorism in the United States following the October 7, 2023, attack in Israel by the Hamas terrorist group and the terrorist attack in Russia.

“Looking back over my career in law enforcement, I’d be hard-pressed to think of a time when so many different threats to our public safety and national security were so elevated all at once, but that is the case as I sit here today,” Mr. Wray said in a Senate hearing earlier this month.

The FBI director has raised concerns about potential human smuggling operations along the U.S.–Mexico border, emphasizing the need for increased support from Mexico. Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testified in a June House hearing that the threat of terrorist attacks has significantly increased.

This week, German officials warned that their country could face an incident similar to Moscow’s recent attack as it prepares to host Euro 2024 soccer matches in the coming months.

“Europe, and with it Germany, are in the crosshairs of jihadist organizations, in particular ISIS and ISIS-K,” German interior minister Nancy Faeser told the Financial Times.

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By Hunter Fielding
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