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U.S. releases name of ISIS commander killed in raid
02:24 - Source: CNN

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U.S. releases what it believes to be real name of key ISIS commander killed in weekend raid

Abu Sayyaf's real name was Fathi Ben Awn Ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi, U.S. official says

CNN  — 

The U.S. government says it believes it knows the real name of Abu Sayyaf, the key ISIS commander it says was killed during a U.S. raid in Syria over the weekend.

“While he had a number of aliases, we believe his real name to have been Fathi Ben Awn Ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi,” a U.S. official said Tuesday on condition of anonymity.

Al-Tunisi, until now known by the nom de guerre Abu Sayyaf, was killed in a heavy firefight after he resisted capture in a U.S. special operations forces raid in eastern Syria, the U.S. Defense Department has said.

According to administration officials, al-Tunisi was in charge of oil and gas financing, and had taken an increased role in ISIS operations, planning and communications.

His death is a “significant blow” to the terror group, according to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

Some two dozen members of the Army’s Delta Force involved in the raid at al-Omar also secured computers, cell phones and documents that intelligence officials are combing through to glean information about how the terror organization operates, communicates and earns money, U.S. government officials said.

Also captured in the raid was al-Tunisi’s wife, Umm Sayyaf, who is now being held in Iraq. U.S. officials believe the couple possess or possessed information about American and Western hostages in Syria.

Al-Tunisi’s death represents more than simply one less ISIS commander with whom the United States and its allies must deal.

It also could cause suspicious commanders and fighters to turn on one another, “because now that (al-Tunisi) is dead, there are a lot of ISIS leaders wondering who among them is telling secrets to the enemy,” CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem said. “And the more they turn on each other, the less they will have time to plan ways to turn on us.”