American forces in Somalia (such as these pictured) killed a senior leader of the Islamic State during a special operation Wednesday night, which also saw several other members of the group killed. File Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- American forces killed a senior leader of the Islamic State during a special operation in Somalia Wednesday night, which also saw several other members of the group killed.
A statement issued Thursday by the Department of Defense confirmed the death of Bilal al Sudani and "of a number of ISIS members."
Officials did not elaborate on the specifics of the operation, other than to say it took place in a mountainous region of northern Somalia.
Aside from a bite by a military dog, no U.S. service members were injured during the operation. No civilians were hurt either.
Al Sudani was "an ISIS leader in Somalia and a key facilitator for ISIS's global network," Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in the department's statement.
"Al Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group's operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan," Austin said. "This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure, and it reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad."
President Joe Biden authorized the special operation after it was recommended by Austin and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley.
The department did not identify the other ISIS members killed in the operation, nor did it confirm the exact number, although NBC reported the figure was 10, citing senior administration sources.
In March, al Sudani was among several ISIS members sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department because of ties to the militant group, including kidnapping and extortion.
The U.S. Africa Command said Thursday it would release further details on the operation in the coming days.