The U.S. military killed a “close associate” of the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in a ground operation earlier this month, the Pentagon announced Friday.
"Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, an ISIS operative, was killed by U.S. forces working on operation near al Mayadin Syria to kill him,” U.S. Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas told Pentagon reporters in a phone briefing. The operation took place April 6.
Thomas said Uzbeki was “known to interact” with ISIS leader Abu Bakr Baghdadi and helped orchestrate the deadly New Year's Eve attack that left at least 39 club patrons and staff dead at an upscale nightclub in Istanbul, Turkey.
“Uzbeki facilitated the movement of ISIS foreign terror fighters and funds, and he also played a key role in ISIS’s external terror-attack plotting,” Thomas said. “He facilitated the high-profile attack in Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve.”
Thomas added that Uzbeki was killed in an operation aimed specifically at eliminating him.
“We have a campaign against the leaders of ISIS,” Thomas said. “You can look through the history of strikes and think we have a pretty good record of finding these folks and killing them.”