Senior IS Official in Iraq Killed in Airstrike

Senior IS Official in Iraq Killed in AirstrikeSenior IS Official in Iraq Killed in Airstrike

An airstrike by a US-led coalition killed a senior official of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group in Iraq last week, a Pentagon spokesman said on Monday.

The strike on May 6 killed Abu Wahib, IS’s chief military official in Anbar province, said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook. The strike was on a vehicle carrying Abu Wahib, also known as Shakir Wahib, and three other IS members near the town of Rutba, Cook said.

IS, a hardline militant group, seized large portions of Anbar province in 2014, though Iraqi security forces have since last year succeeded in winning back some towns there, including Ramadi and Hit, Reuters reported.

The death of Abu Wahib, given his senior role in military planning in Anbar, will impede IS’s ability to conduct operations in the western province, Cook said. The group is also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh.

“ISIL leadership has been hit hard by coalition efforts and this is another example of that,” Cook said. “It is dangerous to be an ISIL leader in Iraq and Syria these days, and for good reason.”

Abu Wahib had appeared in IS execution videos and was a former member of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Cook said.

The US military and allies have been conducting airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since 2014 targeting IS leaders and infrastructure in an effort to defeat the group.

Iraqi media have in the past year published reports of Abu Wahib’s death, though the Pentagon had never confirmed his death before.

Though US-led airstrikes have succeeded in taking out IS members and some important leaders, the group is far from defeated. The group still controls much of its border-spanning “caliphate,” has inspired global affiliates and is able to orchestrate deadly external attacks like those that killed 32 people in Brussels on March 22.