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U.S. Airstrike Kills Top ISIS Leader In Iraq

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The New York Times

U.S. Airstrike Kills Top ISIS Leader In Iraq

By Jane Arraf and Falih Hassan

BAGHDAD — American airstrikes in a joint mission with Iraqi forces have killed the top Islamic State leader in Iraq, an attack aimed at stemming the group’s resurgence and exacting retribution for a deadly double-suicide bombing in Baghdad last week.

The ISIS commander, Jabbar Salman Ali Farhan al-Issawi, 43, known as Abu Yasser, was killed Wednesday near the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, American-led military coalition and Iraqi officials said Friday.

The Islamic State no longer holds territory in Iraq but has continued to carry out deadly attacks. The question of what kind of force is required to keep the group in check has been at the heart of American and Iraqi negotiations over reducing the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, and the American role in the raid this week illustrates Iraq’s continued reliance on the U.S. military.

A coalition spokesman, Col. Wayne Marotto, called Mr. al-Issawi’s death “a significant blow” to the Islamic State’s efforts to regroup.

Mr. al-Issawi coordinated the group’s operations in Iraq, counterterrorism experts said. Colonel Marotto said he was responsible for developing and relaying guidance to ISIS fighters and for helping to expand the ISIS presence in Iraq.

He said that nine other ISIS fighters were killed in the operation.

Colonel Marotto said that Iraqi counterterrorism forces led the operation with coalition air, intelligence and surveillance support.

The American-led coalition has a policy of not commenting on which countries conduct specific airstrikes. But senior Iraqi security officials who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to release the information said that U.S. aircraft carried out the strikes.

Full story https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/world/middleeast/us-airstrike-kills-top-isis-leader-in-iraq.html