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Leader of ISIS killed by US drone strike in Syria, says Pentagon

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By AP
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers search for IS militants in Hassakeh.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces soldiers search for IS militants in Hassakeh.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahma, File

The leader of the so-called Islamic State (IS) group in Syria has been killed in a US military operation, the Pentagon has said.

US Central Command has announced that Maher al-Agal was killed in a drone strike on Tuesday, while an unidentified senior IS official was also seriously injured.

The drone strike took place outside Jindaris, a town in northwest Syria close to the Turkish border.

The Pentagon has said there were no civilian casualties, although the claim has not been verified.

The strike on al-Agal comes months after the head of the IS group, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, killed himself during a raid on his hideout by American special forces.

The attack “takes a key terrorist off the field and significantly degrades the ability of [IS] to plan, resource, and conduct their operations in the region,” President Joe Biden said in a statement.

"Like the US operation in February that eliminated [IS’s] overall leader, it sends a powerful message to all terrorists who threaten our homeland and our interests around the world,” Biden added.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, al-Agal was a former prominent commander of IS during its control of Raqqa. He was most recently a commander in a Turkish-backed faction called Jaysh Al-Sharqiyyah.

US-led coalition forces have also targeted al-Qaeda-linked militants in Syria over the years.