Fri, 18 Oct 2019

WASHINGTON, U.S. - The Pentagon has revealed in a statement that after intense warfare and the recent liberation of Fallujah from militants, a U.S.-led coalition air strike managed to kill two senior military commanders of the Islamic State (ISIS) militant group.

It said that the air strike occurred last week near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which was captured in a brutal offensive by the ISIS in 2014.

Peter Cook, a spokesperson for Pentagon said that the slain ISIS commander had been identified as Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, who led the militant groups June 2014 offensive to capture the Iraqi city. al-Bajari was said to be the Deputy Minister of War for the group.

Cook added in the statement that the other militant killed in the air strikes was identified as Hatim Talib al-Hamduni, a military commander for the terror group in the area.

Cook also said, These deaths are the latest in coalition efforts to systemically eliminate ISISs cabinet wherever they hide, disrupting their ability to plot external terror attacks and hold onto the territory they use to claim legitimacy. The international coalition fighting ISIS, working with local, capable, and motivated forces on the ground in Iraq and Syria, continues to make sustained progress in our campaign to deal ISIS a lasting defeat.

The air strike, Pentagon said took place exactly a week back and was conducted in response to ISISs operation that involved capturing large areas in northern and western Iraq and eastern Syria, establishing a self-declared "Islamic Caliphate" in those lands.

Reports claimed that al-Bajari was a former Al-Qaeda member, who used his military prowess in helping ISIS capture Mosul, and also led the Jaysh al-Dabiq battalion which is known for using vehicle-borne IEDs, suicide bombers and mustard gas in its attacks.

Mosul has since faced enormous instances of oppression and sectarian murder, and a strong dictatorial rule under the ISIS.

The city, which is the second largest one in Iraq, had been a top priority of the battling Iraqi forces until June 26 when it was finally liberated from militant hold on June 26.

The Iraqi forces had previously liberated Fallujah, another city captured by ISIS which is 40 miles from Baghdad, after weeks of fighting.

Despite loss of land and reduction in funds, ISIS has launched two major global attacks, one in Dhaka which it claimed on Saturday, and another one in Istanbuls airport, which reek of an ISIS style attack but hasnt been directly claimed by the group so far.

Cook, in the statement is said to have assured that progress has been made along the way ever since U.S. launched the coalition against ISIS.

He said, The coalition has freed Fallujah from ISISs grip; launched devastating strikes against ISIS 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 ISIS forces. In addition to making operationally significant strides in our campaign to defeat ISIS, we continue to look for - and seize - every opportunity to hasten it.

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