ISIS leader killed in drone strike

Hafiz Saeed Khan, leader of ISIS branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan reportedly killed in drone strike.

Ben Ariel, Canada,

ISIS flag
ISIS flag

The leader of Islamic State's (ISIS) branch in Afghanistan and Pakistan has been killed in a U.S. drone strike, the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan said on Friday, according to Reuters.

The American military said it could not confirm the information but if true, the death of Hafiz Saeed Khan would strike a blow to efforts by ISIS to expand its control over territory and its jihadist brand into Afghanistan and Pakistan.

It would also mark the second U.S. killing of a prominent militant in the region within months. In May, a U.S. drone killed Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansour in a strike in Pakistan.

Khan has been reported dead before, noted Reuters. Last year, Afghan intelligence agents claimed he had been killed, but the report was never confirmed.

But on Friday, Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal told the news agency he had seen confirmation from Afghan security forces on Khan's death.

"I can confirm that ISIS Khurasan (Afghanistan and Pakistan) leader Hafiz Saeed Khan along with his senior commanders and fighters died in a U.S. drone strike on July 26 in Kot district of Afghanistan's Nangharhar province," he said.

U.S. military spokesman Colonel Michael Lawhorn said American forces in Afghanistan "are aware of those reports and we are looking into it" but have not yet confirmed Khan's death.

ISIS just this week cvlaimed an attack on a hospital that killed at least 74 people in the Pakistani city of Quetta. A Pakistani Taliban faction also claimed responsibility.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)