World 31.8.2016 04:20 pm

IS leaders killed in Iraq and Syria

PHOTO AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB

PHOTO AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB

US-led coalition air strikes have killed several senior figures in the Islamic State group since April in a heavy blow to the jihadist organisation.

The latest death is Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, described as the “principal architect” of attacks on the West, although this time both the United States and Russia claimed credit for his killing.

Coalition aircraft have also previously targeted Al-Nusra Front, the former Syrian branch of Al-Qaeda.

Here is a short list of departed warlords:

– Abu Mohamed al-Adnani –
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On Tuesday, the IS announced via its news service Amaq that Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, a Syrian national, had died in Aleppo province of northern Syria and pledged to avenge his death.

Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, using an alternative name for IS, said a coalition air strike near Al-Bab had targeted Adnani, describing him as the “principal architect of ISIL’s external operations and… ISIL’s chief spokesman”.

Russia, however, said one of its warplanes had carried out the strike that killed Adnani.

A US defence official who declined to be named linked Adnani to attacks in Brussels, Istanbul and Paris, and said that if true, his death was “a very significant blow for ISIL”.

The US had offered 5 million for information that led to him.

– “Omar the Chechen” –
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On July 13, Amaq announced the death of senior IS commander Omar al-Shishani, whose nom de guerre means Omar the Chechen, near Mosul in northern Iraq. The Pentagon confirmed that coalition aircraft had targeted the IS leader, but not that he had been killed.

Known for ruthless tactics and his thick red beard, Shishani, whose Georgian name was Tarkhan Batirashvili, was one of the most sought IS leaders in Syria, described by US officials who put a 5-million bounty on his head as the group’s de facto defence minister.

– IS Anbar chief Abu Wahib –
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On May 6, another airstrike killed Abu Wahib, “military emir” of IS for the vast western Iraqi province of Anbar, near the town of Rutba.

Abu Wahib, a former Al-Qaeda militant and three other IS jihadists died when their vehicle was hit, and Pentagon spokesman Cook said he was considered “a significant leader in ISIL leadership overall, not just in Anbar province”.

Wahib had appeared in chilling IS execution videos and did not mask his identity despite the clear risk to his security.

– Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli –
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On March 25, US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter announced that Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, believed to be number two in the IS leadership, had been “eliminated” during a US operation in Syria. Carter also referred to Aqduli as Haji Imam.

The US Justice Department had offered a bounty of up to 7 million for information leading to Qaduli, identified as the group’s finance minister and a key figure behind some foreign plots.

Days later the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a US drone strike had killed Tunisian jihadist Abu al-Hija, another high-ranking IS leader who was heading to Aleppo province on orders of IS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, for whom the US has offered a 10-million reward.

– Al-Nusra spokesman –
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On April 3, Al-Nusra Front spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri, also known as Radwane Nammous, died when US planes attacked a training camp in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

In late July, the group announced it was breaking ties with Al-Qaeda and renaming itself Fateh al-Sham Front.

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