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US forces in Syria kill associate of ISIS leader linked to Istanbul nightclub strike

A close associate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is tied to the New Year’s nightclub bombing in Turkey was killed by US forces in Syria two weeks ago, the US Central Command announced Friday.

Troops killed ISIS facilitator Abdurakhmon Uzbeki on April 6, according to Col. John Thomas, chief spokesman for US Central Command.

“He was known to interact with him in various ways over time,” Thomas said about Uzbeki’s relationship with al-Baghdadi.

ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Uzbeki is believed to have facilitated the New Year’s attack on a nightclub in Istanbul that killed 39.

“He was involved in plotting external terror plots,” Thomas said. “We’ve clearly linked him with the Istanbul” attack

The ground operation was conducted by US Special Operations forces near Mayadin, Syria, according to a defense official who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the operation. Mayadin is located in Deir Ezzor province in eastern Syria.

It’s a rare use of US Special Operations ground units for combat inside Syria.

A longstanding expeditionary targeting force made up of Special Operations troops has been tasked with these types of missions.