U.S. special operations forces killed a senior commander of the Islamic State group in Syria overnight, U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said in a statement Saturday. During a raid in al-Amr in eastern Syria that was designed to capture Abu Sayyaf, the senior leader of the militant group formerly known as either ISIL or ISIS was slain, multiple media outlets reported.
#BREAKING: US special forces kill senior IS leader in Syria: Pentagon
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) May 16, 2015
In his statement, Carter said Sayyaf unsuccessfully fought to elude capture during the raid, which the defense secretary said was undertaken at the direction of President Barack Obama.
"Abu Sayyaf was involved in ISIL's military operations and helped direct the terrorist organization's illicit oil, gas and financial operations as well," Carter said.
CNN executive editor Ram Ramgopal reported news of Sayyaf’s death on Twitter:
US Special Operations forces conducted a raid in Syria, targeting senior ISIS commander Abu Sayyaf, sources tell CNN. Sayyaf was killed
â€” Ram Ramgopal (@RamCNN) May 16 2015
Ramgopal also reported Sayyaf's wife, an Iraqi named Umm Sayyaf who is believed to have been involved in hostage taking and human trafficking for the militant group, was captured and taken to Iraq for interrogation. The defense secretary said in his statement that Umm Sayyaf "played an important role in ISIL's terrorist activities, and may have been complicit in what appears to have been the enslavement of a young Yezidi woman rescued last night."
According to Carter, "No U.S. forces were killed or injured during this operation."