The Pentagon has revealed that three senior level ISIS leaders have been killed in U.S. airstrikes inside of Iraq, one of which was considered to be the group’s right-hand man. The airstrikes, which have occurred over the past few weeks, were confirmed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey during an interview he gave the Wall Street Journal on Thursday.
ABC News reported that the U.S. commander in charge of the leading the effort against ISIS in Iraq and Syria claims the collaborative effort has made a “significant impact” on the terrorist group’s operations. During Gen. Dempsey’s interview, he admitted the airstrikes that have been occurring since mid-November against targeted ISIS leaders.
“It is disruptive to their planning and command and control. These are high-value targets, senior leadership.”
The two ISIS leaders killed in early December air attacks included Haji Mutazz, who U.S. officials described as a “deputy waji” or “governor.” He was ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s right-hand man. The other leader killed in the attack was Abd al Basit, who was considered the head of ISIS military operations in Iraq. A late November airstrike killed Radwin Talib, whom officials said was a governor, or the Wali, in Mosul.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, U.S. officials claim that the November and December strikes have killed up to seven important Islamic State rulers in Iraq. Iraq is the focus of the coalition’s efforts in advance of an offensive that is expected to take place early next year. The goal of the offensive will be to try to retake key cities away from Islamic State control.
1,361 US airstrikes have been conducted in Iraq and Syria
[Image via The Florida News Journal][/caption]
During a news conference at the Pentagon, the commander in charge of the U.S. effort, Lt. Gen. James Terry, said although significant progress has been made against the terrorist organization, it will take about three years for Iraqi security forces to establish their capabilities. He also revealed that there have been 1,361 airstrikes as of Thursday, many of which supported Iraqi military operations.
As reported by the Inquisitr, airstrikes in early December were conducted in Syria as well as Iraq and, at the time, they were considered to be ineffective. However, with the reported deaths of ISIS leadership, the airstrikes are beginning to reveal their ability to disrupt the Islamic State’s operations.
As part of the buildup to next year’s offensive, CNN reported in November that President Barack Obama approved the deployment of 1,500 more U.S. troops to Iraq to assist and train both Iraqi and Kurdish forces to fight back against ISIS.
[Image courtesy of the Associated Press]