WASHINGTON – The U.S.-led military coalition against the Islamic State killed a key leader in Syria who had direct ties to the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Paris and was planning more attacks against the West, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Army Col. Steve Warren, the top spokesman for the coalition, told reporters that Charaffe al Mouadan was killed Dec. 24 in an airstrike. He declined to say where in Syria the attack occurred, and described it as part of a wave of attacks carried out since Dec. 7 that have killed 10 Islamic State leaders, including others involved in “external operations” that included plotting attacks in the West.
“My point is this: We will continue to hunt ISIL leaders who are working to recruit, plan and inspire attacks against the United States of America and our allies,” Warren said, using an acronym for the Islamic State militant group.
The attacks in Paris killed 130 people on Nov. 13. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for them, and the suspected leader of the attackers, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis five days later.
The confirmation of Mouadan’s death comes a day after Iraqi security forces raised their country’s flag on a government compound in Ramadi, Iraq, which they seized from the militants after a multi-day battle in and around the city. Some neighborhoods in Ramadi remain in Islamic State control, but Warren said the majority of the fighters have either been killed or run away.
All 10 of the Islamic State leaders killed and named on Tuesday were targeted with airstrikes, mostly using unmanned aircraft, Warren said. The other nine include:
– Rawand Dilsher Taher, an external operations leader who was killed in Raqqa, Syria, the de facto capital of the Islamic State, on Dec. 7. He assisted in command and control for the militant group and transferred money and equipment for Islamic State operations, Warren said.
– Khalil Ahmad Ali al-Wais, also known as Abu Wadhah, who was killed near Hawijah, Iraq, on Dec. 7. He served as the Islamic State emir in Iraq’s Kirkuk province, and had a long history of terrorist activities against the United States and Iraq, Warren said.
– Abu Anas, an Islamic State cell facilitator, was killed Dec. 8 near Kirkuk, Iraq. He played a key role in the Islamic State’s improvised explosive device attacks near that city, U.S. military officials said.
– Yunish Khalash, also known as Abu Jawdat, was killed Dec. 9. He was the deputy financial amir for the Islamic State in Mosul, Warren said.
– Mithaq Najim, The Islamic State’s deputy emir in Kirkuk province, was killed Dec. 9 near Hawijah, Iraq.
– Siful Haque Sujan, a Syria-based Bangladeshi, was killed near Raqqa on Dec. 10, Warren said. Sujan was an external operations planner who had been educated as a computer systems engineer in Britain, Warren said. He had a role in the Islamic State’s hacking efforts, use of anti-surveillance technology and weapons development, Warren added.
– Akram Muhammad Sa’ad Faris, also known as Akram Aabu, an Islamic State commander and executioner, was killed Dec. 12 near his base of operations in Tal Afar in northwestern Iraq, Warren said.
– Abdel Kader Hakim, another Islamic State external operations leader, was killed in Mosul on Dec. 26, Warren said. The U.S. military described him as a veteran fighter and forgery specialist who also had links to the terrorist network that carried out the attacks in Paris and links throughout Europe.
– Tashin al-Haali, another external operations facilitator, was killed near Mosul on Dec. 27, Warren said.