A senior official of the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group was killed along with several other jihadists in an attack by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Raqqa city, military sources reported on Sunday.
Abu Khattab al-Tunsi, a Tunisian jihadist and chief of ISIS’ military operations in eastern Raqqa, was killed by the SDF fire.
“At least 12 members of ISIS were killed during clashes with the SDF in the eastern part of the city. Among the casualties was Abu Khattab al-Tunsi,” a spokesman for the SDF confirmed in an interview with ARA News on Sunday.
“The death of al-Tunsi comes as a new blow to the ISIS terror group. He was leading their military operations in the eastern side of the city,” the Kurdish official said.
In the meantime, ISIS militants launched an offensive on the SDF headquarters in northern Raqqa.
“The group launched several mortar shells on the SDF security checkpoints in the villages of al-Kleb and Shahir north of the city in the midnight on Sunday,” local media activist Shero Ahmed told ARA News.
“The bombardment caused the injury of at least six SDF fighters, who are being treated by the medical team in northern Raqqa,” the source reported.
This comes after the US-backed SDF troops launched a major operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from ISIS radicals. On Tuesday, the SDF announced the official start of the operation to liberate the city of Raqqa from Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants.
The SDF forces have liberated several neighborhoods in Raqqa city since Tuesday.
Raqqa has been known as a de facto capital for the ISIS self-proclaimed Caliphate since the summer of 2014.
The Kurdish-Arab-Christian alliance of SDF has been isolating the city since November 2016, when the US-backed alliance launched the so-called Euphrates Wrath Operation.
During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, which began on November 6, 2016, the SDF liberated roughly 560 km² in Northern Raqqa.
On 10 December, 2016, the SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath, during which it captured over 2500 km² in Western Raqqa.
On 4 February, 2017, the Syrian Democratic Forces launched the third phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, and liberated dozens of villages east of the city from ISIS jihadists.
The campaign is ultimately aimed at liberating the city from ISIS extremists.