Coalition airstrike kills two 'senior' IS leaders in Iraq

Coalition airstrike kills two 'senior' IS leaders in Iraq
A US-led coalition airstrike near the Iraqi city of Mosul has killed two senior leaders in the Islamic State group, the Pentagon announced Friday.
2 min read
02 July, 2016
The airstrike took place on June 25 near Mosul [AFP]

Two senior Islamic State military commanders have been killed in a US-led coalition airstrike near the group's stronghold in the Iraqi city of Mosul, the Pentagon said Friday.

"Coalition forces conducted an airstrike against two ISIL senior military commanders on June 25 near Mosul, Iraq, resulting in their deaths," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement, using an acronym for the IS group.

"The precision strike killed Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, ISIL's deputy minister of war, and Hatim Talib al-Hamduni, an ISIL military commander in Mosul."

Cook said al-Bajari was a former al-Qaeda member who joined the IS group and oversaw the June 2014 offensive to capture Mosul.

He "also led the ISIL Jaysh al-Dabiq battalion known for using vehicle-borne IEDs (homemade bombs), suicide bombers and mustard gas in its attacks."

Al-Hamduni was a military commander in Mosul and the head of military police in the region, Cook said.

Mosul is Iraq's second-largest city and became the IS group's de facto Iraq capital.

Iraqi security forces have in recent weeks made significant progress against the IS group, including the recapture of the city of Fallujah this month.

Attention is now shifting to Mosul, where a battle to liberate the city is expected to unfold in the coming months.

"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.