JERUSALEM – In a recent boost for Middle Eastern peace efforts, the Defense Department confirmed that a raid by Navy SEALs in the West Bank had killed known extremist agitator Isa Ibn Yusuf.
The 35-year old resident was facing a federal indictment on several counts of supporting terrorism and had been accused of recruiting young men for a violent group of zealots.
"It may have taken us 40 days and 40 nights, but we got him," said Special Operations Command head Admiral William McRaven while describing the mission.
Ibn Yusuf, who at one point claimed he would set the world on fire and that he had not come to bring peace but a sword, was discovered on Sunday during a pre-dawn raid in a cave outside of Jerusalem.
The SEALs, working closely with both the Israeli Mossad and the Palestinian National Authority, were able to locate him through a tip from a close informant, described by Pentagon sources as Ibn Yusuf's "left hand man."
While there were previously no definitive images of Ibn Yusuf, who has been alternately described in the media as either Caucasian or African, the SEALs identified him through several prominent scars on his hands and feet.
He was discovered only two days after newspapers suggested he had been dragged through the streets and lynched by an angry mob. Pentagon officials now believe that Ibn Yusuf may have faked his own death after an attempted shakedown of some local financiers.
Local witness Saul Tarsus said that the SEALs initially tried to capture Ibn Yusuf, but after he attempted to flee across a nearby body of water they unsuccessfully engaged him with multiple gunshots to the torso, limbs, and head.
Tarsus then described being knocked to the ground by a blinding flash of light after the frustrated SEALs called in a 2,000 pound JDAM strike.
The SEALs were able to recover some materials from the cave, described by the Pentagon as a "treasure trove of terrorist literature." They also found several pieces of wood and a bucket of nails which they suspect were being used to build a crude pressure-plate IED.
McRaven explained how Ibn Yusuf first came to the attention of U.S. intelligence five years ago, after he became the leader of a fanatical religious splinter group, where his frequently apocalyptic, sometimes pseudo-Marxist rhetoric helped him attract both national attention and a large following.
"Our intelligence suggested he lacked the logistical support to feed his network," McRaven said, "but all of a sudden he produced enough bread and fish to feed them all. That can only mean one thing: Backing from the Saudis and Pakistanis."
Despite Ibn Yusuf's death, local officials will be taking additional precautions to ensure there is no rioting by his followers after Friday Prayers, Saturday Shabbat, or Sunday services.
In a related story, Pentagon officials reported that Ibn Yusuf's eleven remaining lieutenants were successfully killed this afternoon by a targeted drone strike in Galilee.