US airstrike in Iraqi city Mosul kills top IS leaders, announces Pentagon

Washington: Two top Islamic State commanders have been killed in the US airstrike in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the Pentagon has announced and hoped that this would help in liberating Mosul from the control of the dreaded terror group.

"Coalition forces conducted an airstrike against two Islamic State senior military commanders on 25 June near Mosul, resulting in their deaths," the Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said on Friday.

"The precision strike killed Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, Islamic State deputy minister of war, and Hatim Talib al-Hamduni, an Islamic State military commander in Mosul," Cook said.

These deaths are the latest in coalition efforts to systemically eliminate Islamic State cabinet wherever they hide, disrupting their ability to plot external terror attacks and hold onto the territory they use to claim legitimacy, he said in a statement.


Representational image. AP

Cook said the international coalition fighting Islamic State, working with local, capable, and motivated forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria, continues to make sustained progress in our campaign to deal Islamic Statea lasting defeat.

"In recent days, the coalition has freed Fallujah from Islamic State's grip; launched devastating strikes against Islamic State forces fleeing that city; completed the encirclement of Manbij, a key node in the flow of foreign fighters between Syria and Turkey; and started to clear key terrain south of Mosul of Islamic State forces," he added.

"In addition to making operationally significant strides in our campaign to defeat Islamic State , we continue to look for - and seize - every opportunity to hasten it," Cook said.

Al-Bajari was an experienced terrorist, a former member of al-Qaeda who brought his military skills into Islamic State's terrorist network.

He oversaw Islamic State's June 2014 offensive to capture Mosul, and has also led the Islamic State Jaysh al-Dabiq battalion known for using vehicle-borne IEDs, suicide bombers and mustard gas in its attacks.

He used his military experience to consolidate Islamic State's control over Mosul, where they have engaged in dictatorial rule and sectarian murder and oppression since 2014.

Hatim Talib al-Hamduni was an Islamic State military commander in Mosul and the head of military police for self-proclaimed Ninawa state.

"Their deaths, along with strikes against other Islamic State leaders in the past month, have critically degraded Islamic State's leadership experience in Mosul and removed two of their most senior military members in Northern Iraq," Cook said.

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Updated Date: Jul 02, 2016 11:55:20 IST

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