U.S. led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant(ISIL) have recently killed several prominent leaders of that organisation, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve Spokesman, has said.
Dorrian, who disclosed this during a news briefing with Pentagon reporters via teleconference from Baghdad, said precision coalition airstrikes in Mosul and other areas around Iraq have continued attacking ISIL leaders who facilitate and command and control the terrorist network.
Dorrian’s remarks was made available to the Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) by the U.S. Department of Defense.
“The latest examples are three ISIL facilitators and terrorist leaders from occupied cities,” he said, confirming the deaths of Ahmad Abdullah Hamad al-Mahalawi, Abu Turq, and Falah al-Rashidi.
“Al-Rishidi, struck on Dec. 4 in Mosul, Iraq, was an ISIL leader who was involved in ISIL’s use of vehicle bombs in Mosul,” Dorrian said.
“His removal further degrades ISIL’s vehicle bomb threat, which has been the enemy’s weapon of choice for attacking Iraqi security forces and civilians.”
Al-Mahalawi, the spokesman said, was struck on Dec. 21 in Qaim, Iraq, and was a “legacy” al-Qaida in Iraq member serving as an ISIL leader in Qaim.
“His removal will disrupt ISIL’s ability to conduct operations along the Euphrates River Valley,” the colonel said.
“This is significant because as ISIL continues to lose population centers, they want to transition toward spoiler attacks in the outlying areas of Iraq and Syria.
“The loss of Mahalawi degrades ISIL’s ability to make that transition.”
Abu Turq was killed on Dec. 4 in Sharqat, Iraq.
Dorrian described him as an ISIL financial facilitator in Qanfusah, Iraq – about 50 miles southwest of Irbil – who had connections to ISIL leaders and ensured money reached the terrorist group.
“He was killed by an airstrike while fighting from a rooftop position in Sharqat, where he and several other fighters were moving a heavy weapon to fire upon partner forces.
“His removal increases pressure on the ISIL financial network, which is already severely disrupted by several hundred strikes on oil infrastructure and bulk cache sites,” he said.
In Syria, more than 100 airstrikes have occurred in the Tabqa Dam area, about 25 miles west of Raqqa, killing many ISIL fighters, including Abu Jandal al-Kuwaiti, Dorrian said.
He added, “Kuwaiti, a prominent foreign fighter and leader, had been sent to improve ISIL’s control in the region in the face of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)’ advance.”
He also said that ISIL was unable to replace fighters and supplies.
Overall, the spokesman said, the coalition-backed battles to regain Raqqa, Syria and Mosul, Iraq from ISIL control have weakened thee enemy’s ability to bring in replacement fighters and supplies.