The United States disclosed on Friday a secret military ground operation that killed an Islamic State operative seen as a close associate of leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and linked to an attack on a Turkish nightclub that left 39 people dead.

Abdurakhmon Uzbeki, who was believed to be from Uzbekistan, was killed during the ground assault near Mayadin, Syria, on April 6, said Colonel John Thomas, a spokesman for the U.S. military’s Central Command.

“It was a ground operation. I think that’s all we’re willing to say about that,” Thomas said, declining further comment. He specified that Uzbeki did not die in an airstrike.

 

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