US Conducts Raid on ISIS in Syria, Kills Top Official

Members of the 1st Special Forces Group

U.S. personnel overnight killed a key Islamic State leader in a raid in eastern Syria, the White House said Saturday morning.

The U.S. team, based in Iraq, killed leader Abu Sayyaf and captured his wife, Umm Sayyaf, said National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan.

Abu Sayyaf was a senior ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) leader whose roles included overseeing illicit oil and gas operations -- key sources of revenue for the terror group, according to the White House. He also was allegedly involved with the group's military operations.

No U.S. personnel was killed or injured during the operation, a departure from the U.S-led air strike on ISIL militants in the region.

Sayyaf purportedly died in a firefight.

Umm Sayyaf, whom U.S. intelligence officials suspect also was an ISIL member and played an important role in terror activities, was after capture taken for questioning to a U.S. military facility in Iraq. 

The commando operation also led to the freeing of a young Yezidi woman who appears to have been held as a slave by the couple. 

The White House said President Obama authorized the operation as soon as he and his national security team developed sufficient intelligence and were confident the mission could be carried out successfully.

Defense Secretary said he ordered U.S. Special Operations Forces into Syria’s al-Amr region to Sayyaf and his wife.

ISIL has over roughly the past year has made a swift and unexpected rise in Syria and Iraq, taking territories and using captured assets to finance its deadly operations, which have including the online publishing of beheadings.

Syrian state media earlier reported that government forces killed at least 40 ISIL fighters, including a senior commander in charge of oil fields, in an attack Saturday on the country's largest oil field -- held by ISIL.

It identified the commander as Abu al-Teem al-Saudi.

The Britain-based Syria Observatory for Human Rights confirmed an oil field attack, saying at least 19 ISIL members, including 12 foreigners, were killed. The group did not say who carried out the attack.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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