Four U.S. service members and a military working dog were wounded during a joint helicopter raid in Syria on Thursday night, according to U.S. Central Command.
The troops, who were conducting the raid with the Syrian Democratic Forces, were wounded by an explosion triggered by the Islamic State terror group leader who was the target, the command said Friday. They were all in stable condition and being treated in a U.S. medical facility in Iraq, it added.
The raid in northeastern Syria killed Hamza al-Homsi, whom the military said was a senior leader in the Islamic State terrorist group. The general in charge of Central Command visited Baghdad and warned that the fight against the group, known as ISIS, is ongoing despite the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq.
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"The injuries to the U.S. troops and working dog resulted from Hamza al-Homsi detonating an explosion on the target in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zor, Syria," Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for Central Command, said in a statement to Military.com. "Hamza al-Homsi oversaw the group's deadly terrorist network in eastern Syria before he was killed in the raid."
About 900 U.S. troops continue to operate in Syria, where they work alongside local allied forces to fight what remains of the group, nearly a decade after it swept through Syria and Iraq and attempted to set up a global terrorist caliphate.
ISIS became notorious for executing civilians on video for propaganda value, including the taped beheadings of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff. It also inspired terrorist attacks around the world and committed genocide on Iraq's Yazidi minority religious group.
On Feb. 10, a similar joint U.S. raid killed an ISIS official who was allegedly planning attacks on detention centers where members of the group are being held. That raid resulted in the seizure of a suicide belt, along with weapons and ammo.
More than 10,000 ISIS detainees are still being held in the detention centers in Syria, Central Command wrote in a tweet about the earlier raid.
"Alongside our partners in the Syrian Democratic Forces, we continue to put pressure on ISIS in Syria," Gen. Erik Kurilla, who heads Central Command, said Feb. 7 during a visit with Iraqi officials in Baghdad. "Territorially, ISIS is defeated and incapable of holding large swaths of land. However, ISIS remains a threat, and its vile ideology remains uncontained and unconstrained."
In Iraq, the U.S. military continues to "advise, assist and enable" the Iraqi Security Forces that are battling remnants of ISIS.
The U.S. ended combat operations in Iraq in December 2021, but about 2,500 troops remained for support.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with the statement from Buccino.
-- Travis Tritten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Travis_Tritten.