The Pentagon claims that a US helicopter raid near the Syrian city of Deir Ezzor on Thursday ended with the death of an Islamic State (ISIS) leader named Hamza al-Homsi, who detonated a suicide vest during the raid. The blast allegedly resulted in the injury of four US soldiers and a dog, all of whom are in stable condition.
As happens so often with ISIS “leaders” the US kills, Homsi’s profile seems to have grown substantially since his death. It’s suggested he ran the whole ISIS network in eastern Syria.
ISIS has shown an ability to replace slain leaders with little loss of effectiveness. CENTCOM did not reveal what motivated this raid, though it came the same day as a high profile ISIS raid further to the west.
CENTCOM reported that no other ISIS fighters were present at the Homsi raid, raising the question of why such an important leader was left totally unguarded. CENTCOM did claim a second ISIS figure was capturedin a totally unrelated raid against an assassination cell leader.
CENTCOM offered no further details on this second raid Friday, but later identified him as /batar, and suggested US troops faced resistance.. There were no ISIS comments on these incidents so far, which is unusual, though ISIS may simply be waiting to issue a statement.