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FOLLOW-UP

Pentagon: U.S. Raid in Syria Kills Turkish Night Club Attack Mastermind

U.S. officials confirmed Friday that a U.S. raid in early April in Mayadan, Syria, killed an ISIS operative who helped plan a deadly Turkish night club attack on New Year's Eve. Abdurakhmon Uzbeki "facilitated the high profile attack on a night club in Istanbul on New Year's Eve, which resulted in the death of 39 innocent civilians," Central Command spokesman Col. John Thomas told reporters Friday. "It was a ground operation...specifically to eliminate him," Thomas said.

He said Uzbeki was "a close associate of the so-called caliph of the Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi," who "facilitated the movement of ISIS foreign terror fighters and funds and...played a key role in ISIS's external terror attack plotting." Special operations commanders say the coalition has killed up to 70,000 ISIS fighters in the coalition air-and-ground campaign stretching across Syria and Iraq. Separately, an Afghan army base is currently under attack outside Mazar al Sharif.

Thomas said Afghan forces in a mosque and dining facility at Camp Shaheen were fighting back against a fierce and ongoing Taliban attack Friday, with more than 50 Afghan soldiers dead or wounded.He said the coalition was assisting the besieged troops, but did not provide details beyond saying that no coalition forces have been subjected to attack.

—Kimberly Dozier