Airstrike kills two ′Islamic State′ military commanders | News | DW | 02.07.2016
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Airstrike kills two 'Islamic State' military commanders

A US-led airstrike killed two senior "Islamic State" commanders in late June. The Pentagon reported that one of the targets was the movement's deputy war minister.

The airstrike, near the Iraqi city of Mosul, killed Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari.

Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said the strike in the Iraqi city of Mosul had killed Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, the deputy war minister of the "Islamic State," as well as an IS police chief named Hatim Talib al-Hamduni.

According to the Pentagon, al-Bajari had been in charge of overseeing the capture of Mosul in June 2014. He was also a former member of al-Qaeda. Al-Hamduni meanwhile was a military commander in Mosul and the head of military police in the region, according to Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook.

"Their deaths, along with strikes against other ISIL leaders in the past month, have critically degraded ISIL's leadership experience in Mosul and removed two of their most senior military members in Northern Iraq," Cook said in a statement, using an acronym for the militant group, which is also known as IS, ISIS and Daesh.

Liberating Mosul

Pentagon spokesman Cook added that removing the two leaders would help Iraqi and coalition forces retake Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.

"Removing these terrorist leaders from the battlefield shapes the environment for Iraqi forces to ultimately liberate Mosul with support from the international coalition," Cook said.

Last month, Iraq's military had claimed victory in an offensive against IS forces in Fallujah. Attention is now shifting to Mosul, where a battle to liberate the city is expected to unfold in the coming months. This may, however, not happen before 2017.

ss/bw (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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