In a recent Delta Force-led raid against an Islamic State cell in Syria, American troops were able to extract a treasure trove of information related to the terror group’s leadership and financing structure, officials told the New York Times Monday.
On May 16, U.S. special forces went into Syria and successfully neutralized Abu Sayyaf, a man who has been described as the Islamic State’s chief financier. Sayyaf was tasked with ensuring that the terror outfit could find revenues from oil and gas sources the group now controls, as well as utilizing kidnappings to solicit large ransoms, officials said. The American officials also confirmed that Sayyaf’s wife was detained in the raid and has thus far complied with request for information regarding the terror network.
The valuable information gathered from the Sayyaf raid also helped the U.S. military take down another ISIS leader, Abu Hamid, on May 31, unnamed sources said.
The report revealed that the U.S. commandos downloaded four to seven terabytes of data from mobile items belonging to ISIS fighters, which, according to the Times, also included information about Islamic State “caliph” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.
A State Department official said concerning the report:
I’ll just say from that raid we’re learning quite a bit that we did not know before. Every single day the picture becomes clearer of what this organization is, how sophisticated it is, how global it is and how networked it is.
Military officials told the Times that when Baghdadi was at ISIS’s Syrian “headquarters” in Raqqa, leaders within the group would follow a very specific protocol to avoid giving away their location to western intelligence assets.
Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken added on the record: “Daesh (ISIS) remains extremely resilient, ruthless, and capable of taking the initiative.”
Officials said that the wives of Islamic State leaders have also been utilized as couriers of information between officials within the jihadist group.