French forces kill ISIS leader believed to be responsible for Sgt. La David Johnson’s death

Author: Jessica Vallejo / CBS Miami
Published: Updated:
A State Department Rewards for Justice image seeking information on Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the Islamic State leader killed in the drone strike. (AP)

Justice, finally, for a local hero and his family. The man believed to be responsible for the death of Sgt. La David Johnson from Miami Gardens is dead.

French forces killed Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi, the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara affiliate.

French President Emmanuel Macron made the announcement on Twitter early Thursday, saying “Adnan Abu Walid al-Sahrawi was neutralized by French forces.”

French officials announced he died from wounds suffered in a strike on a motorbike carrying two people during a French-led air and ground operation in Mali.

The operation took place in August.

They added that the delay in announcing his death was due to the French efforts to confirm his identity.

In 2017, al-Sahrawi lead the ambush of United States forces in Niger that killed four American soldiers, including Johnson.

Johnson and the rest of the troops returned fire but soon realized they were outgunned and outnumbered and tried to drive out of the kill zone.

Back in 2018, the U.S. military determined Johnson and his comrades acted bravely.

“There were numerous acts of extraordinary bravery that occurred on that day,” said Major General Roger L. Cloutier, the lead investigator. “Sgt. La David Johnson first of all died actively engaging the enemy. He was never captured alive. His hands were never bound.”

Johnson’s remains were recovered from Niger and brought home to Miami Gardens where he was laid to rest with full military honors.

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, who knew Johnson, released a statement Thursday night, saying:

While his assassination does not make up for the many lives lost at his direction, it is an important step in the fight against terrorism. I hope this news brings some measure of comfort to the families who lost loved ones during his reign of terror and sends a strong warning to other ISIS leaders.

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