30 Dec 2015

Ten IS leaders killed in last month, says US military

8:57 am on 30 December 2015

Targeted US-led coalition air strikes have killed 10 Islamic State (IS) commanders in Iraq and Syria in the past month, a US military spokesman has said.

An undated picture purportedly showing  27-year-old Abdelhamid Abaaoud, taken from a February 2015 issue of Islamic State (IS) online magazine Dabiq.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud Photo: AFP / HO / DABIQ

Some were linked to last month's attacks in Paris and planning further attacks on the West, US Army Colonel Steve Warren added.

He named one as Charaffe al-Mouadan, who he said had a direct link to Paris attack cell leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud.

The US-led coalition has been targeting IS in Iraq and Syria for over a year.

Russia recently began its own air attacks against armed opponents of the Syrian government.

Mouadan was killed on 24 December, said Col Warren.

"Over the past month we've killed 10 Isil [IS] leadership figures with targeted air strikes, including several external attack planners, some of whom are linked to the Paris attacks," he said.

"Others had designs on further attacking the West.

"As long as Isil external attack planners are operating, the US military will hunt them and kill them."

Abaaoud, a Belgian national, was killed in a police raid in a Paris suburb just days after the attacks in the city which killed 130 people.

The effect of the air strikes on Islamic State leadership can be seen in recent battlefield successes against the group, Col Warren said.

The Iraqi army recently saw its first major victory against the ultra-hardline Sunni militants, declaring the capture this week of Ramadi, a provincial capital west of Baghdad which fell to IS in May.

"Part of those successes is attributable to the fact that the organization is losing its leadership," Col Warren said.

He warned, however: "It's still got fangs."

- BBC & Reuters