US Central Command spokesperson Col. John Thomas said on April 21 that Abdul Rahman al-Uzbeki, an Islamic State militant who facilitated the New Year’s Eve attack in Turkey, was killed during a US ground operation near Mayadin in Syria on April 6.
— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 21, 2017
“Uzbeki was a close associate of the so-called caliph of the Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,” Thomas said. “He facilitated the movement of ISIS foreign fighters and funds and he also played a key role in ISIS’s external terror attack plotting.”
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) April 21, 2017
The Iraqi Kurdistan Region Security Council tweeted a purported image of al-Uzbeki, naming him as Gayratzon Usimov. It said its Counter Terror department confirmed he was killed on April 12.
Mayadin in eastern Syria has long been a rumored stronghold for Islamic State leadership.
Turkish police identified another Uzbek national, Abdulkadir Masharipov, as the perpetrator of the Istanbul nightclub attack.
At least 39 people were killed and 69 more injured in the shooting at the Reina nightclub which was packed with New Year’s revellers. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was revenge for Turkish military involvement in Syria.
Masharipov was arrested on January 17 in Istanbul.