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Three top ISIS leaders killed in air strikes: US officials

Three top ISIS leaders killed in air strikes: US officials
Among those killed was Abd al Basit, whom the officials described as the group’s military ‘emir,’ and Haji Mutazz, a deputy to Baghdadi. Those strikes took place between Dec. 3 and Dec. 9, they said. They also confirmed last month’s killing of Radwan Taleb al-Hamdouni, whom local medical sources had described to Reuters at the time as the radical militant group’s leader in the northern city of Mosul.

News of the killings, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, came the same day the top US commander of coalition efforts against  ISIS, Lieutenant General James Terry, hailed the impact of four months of air strikes in Iraq.“We’ve made significant progress in halting that (militant) offensive,” Terry told reporters. He pointed to successful air strikes this week around Iraq’s Sinjar Mountain and Zumar. Those strikes helped Kurdish peshmerga fighters fight their way to Sinjar mountain and, according to a Kurdish leader, free hundreds of people trapped there by Islamic State fighters.

At the same time, Terry outlined a long fight ahead, cautioning it would take several years to build necessary capabilities of Iraqi forces, who crumbled during the Islamic State’s offensive this summer.

Iraqi Kurds say Mount Sinjar siege broken

Iraqi Kurds claimed on Thursday to have broken a siege on a mountain where Yazidi civilians and fighters have long been trapped as the US said air strikes killed several Islamic State leaders in recent weeks. Officials said the twin successes dealt heavy blows to ISIS’s command and control as well as their supply lines, and were the latest in a string of apparent setbacks for the group in recent weeks.

The Kurdish advances came during a two-day blitz into the Sinjar region involving 8,000 peshmerga fighters and some of the heaviest air strikes since a US-led coalition started an air campaign four months ago. Masrour Barzani, the son of the Kurdish president and the intelligence chief for the Iraqi autonomous region, said the peshmerga advance had broken the siege on Mount Sinjar. “Peshmerga forces have reached Mount Sinjar, the siege on the mountain has been lifted,” he told reporters from an operations centre near the border with Syria.

Agencies

Agencies

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