Dec. 18, 2014: A member of the Kurdish forces holds up a piece of clothing worn by an Islamic State fighter found inside a makeshift base used in a battle in Kahrez. (AP)
U.S. airstrikes have killed several top Islamic State leaders in Iraq in recent weeks, limiting the terrorist army’s ability to fight Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Pentagon officials said.
Three top Islamic State leaders were killed in recent weeks, including multiple senior and mid-level leaders, said Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby. One of the leaders killed was Haji Mutazz, a deputy to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the terror group, officials said.
“We believe that the loss of these key leaders degrades ISIL’s ability to command and control current operations against Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including Kurdish and other local forces in Iraq,” Kirby said. “While we do not discuss the intelligence and targeting details of our operations, it is important to note that leadership, command and control nodes, facilities, and equipment are always part of our targeting calculus.”
Earlier, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey told The Wall Street Journal those killed included key players in the jihadist army that has carved out a vast swath of territory in Iraq and Syria.
“It is disruptive to their planning and command and control,” Dempsey told the Journal. “These are high-value targets, senior leadership.”
U.S. strikes also killed Abd al Basit, the head of Islamic State’s military operations in Iraq, between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9. Officials told the Journal that a November strike killed midlevel commander Radwin Talib, ISIS’ wali, or governor, in Mosul, Iraq.
Fox News’ Justin Fishel contributed to this report.
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