A senior Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) jihadist and three other members of the terrorist group were killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Iraq last week, the Pentagon has announced.
Abu Wahib, ISIS’ military chief in Anbar, Iraq’s largest and westernmost province, and the three other jihadists were killed on May 6, Peter Cook, the Pentagon’s press secretary, told reporters on Monday.
The U.S.-led alliance bombed a vehicle carrying Abu Wahib, also known as Shakir Wahib, and the other ISIS members near the town of Rutba, revealed Cook.
Given Abu Wahib’s senior position in military planning in Anbar, taking him out will deal a blow to ISIS and diminish the jihadist group’s ability to carry out operations in the western province, pointed out Cook.
The Pentagon spokesman told reporters:
It’s fair to say that ISIL leadership has been hit hard by coalition efforts, and this is another example of that. It is dangerous to be an ISIL leader in Iraq and Syria these days, and for good reason we want to apply pressure ISIL on as many fronts as possible. And taking out leadership targets is one way to do that.
And we’ve been very successful and this is another example of that. Anbar Province, as you know, is an area critically important to the fight against ISIL, and the fact that we’ve not taken out the military amir of Anbar Province is going to harm ISIL’s ability to conduct operations there.
Cook noted that taking out ISIS leadership is only “one part of a multi-pronged effort to apply pressure” on ISIS.
Abu Wahib is a former member of al-Qaeda in Iraq who has appeared in execution videos produced by ISIS, revealed the Pentagon press secretary.
The U.S.-led coalition has been bombing ISIS positions in Syria and Iraq since 2014, targeting the jihadists’ infrastructure in an effort to defeat them.
Abu Wahib, described as a “significant member of the [ISIS] leadership team,” has been reported dead multiple times in recent years. However, the Pentagon had never confirmed his death in the past.
“In terms of our confidence level, we’re confident that this was a successful strike and I’ll leave it at that,” responded Cook when asked if the Pentagon was sure that the senior ISIS member was dead.
“Though U.S.-led air strikes have succeeded in taking out Islamic State members and some important leaders, the group is far from defeated,” reports Reuters. “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.”