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US airstrike in Iraq kills top ISIS leader

News Agencies | Updated on: 30 January 2021, 9:48 IST
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The US-led military coalition killed the top Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader in Iraq at Kirkuk on Wednesday in an airstrike, reported The Hill.

Jabbar Salman Ali Farhan al-Issawi, 43, known as Abu Yasser, was killed in a joint mission of US and Iraqi forces, informed the coalition on Friday.

He was believed to have coordinated ISIS's operations in Iraq and relayed guidance to the group's fighters across the country reported The Hill.

The airstrike was conducted to check the resurging terror campaign after a double-suicide bombing in Baghdad this month.

His "death is another significant blow to Daesh (ISIS) resurgence efforts in Iraq," said coalition spokesman Wayne Marotto, referring to the group by its Arabic acronym.

Earlier, ISIS had claimed responsibility for the double-suicide bombing that killed 32 people in Baghdad last week, the deadliest strike to hit the Iraqi capital in four years.

"The Coalition will continue to remove key leaders from the battlefield and degrade the terrorist organization. Terrorists-you will never live in peace- you will be pursued to the ends of the earth," said Col Wayne Marotto, Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).

"We promised and fulfilled. I gave my word to pursue Daesh terrorists; we gave them a thundering response. Our heroic armed forces have eliminated Daesh commander Abu Yaser Al-Issawi as part of an intelligence-led operation," added Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

ISIS or Daesh, a self-appointed Caliphate as defenders of Muslims everywhere, once controlled about a third of Iraqi territory at its height and had declared the city of Mosul to be the capital of its "Caliphate", reported The Hill.

The terror group's self-declared Caliphate was defeated by a US-led coalition at Baghuz in March 2019. However, it remains a potent force in the region.

Coalition forces are still fighting against ISIS soldiers in Iraq, though the whereabouts of the group's top leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, are still unknown. Al-Qurayshi was named ISIS's caliph following the death of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a US-led raid in Baghuz in Syria in 2019, reported The Hill.

The US still has about 2,500 troops left on three Iraqi military bases, though questions regarding how strong of a force is needed to keep ISIS at bay has complicated plans for a full withdrawal, reported The Hill.


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First published: 30 January 2021, 9:36 IST