YASIN AKGUL/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — A “close associate” of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in a U.S. ground raid in Syria on April 6, U.S. Central Command said Friday. The raid targeted him for his role in planning the deadly New Years Eve nightclub attack in Istanbul, which killed 39 civilians.
“Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, an ISIS operative, was killed by U.S. forces working on operation near al Mayadin Syria to kill him,” Colonel John Thomas, the spokesman for U.S. Central Command, told Pentagon reporters in a phone briefing Friday.
Al Mayadin is southeast of Dayr Az Zawr in the Euphrates River Valley.
Thomas described Uzbeki as “a close associate” of al-Baghdadi who “was known to interact with him in various ways over time.” Centcom has confirmed over the past two weeks that Uzbeki was killed in the raid.
The spokesman described him as facilitating the movement of ISIS foreign terror fighters and funds. Uzbeki played a key role in ISIS external terror attack plotting and Thomas directly linked him to the deadly Istanbul nightclub shooting attack on New Year’s Eve that was carried out by an Uzbeki national.
Thomas described the ground raid in Syria “as an operation in order to eliminate him.”
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