The Iraqi government announced Wednesday that the deputy leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) was killed in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike Wednesday.
NBC News reported Wednesday that Iraq’s Ministry of Defense showed a video of an airstrike it claims killed Abu Alaa al-Afri while he was having a meeting at a mosque in the northern province of Tal Afar. The strikes were reportedly conducted on May 4.
A statement by the Iraqi military also said an “unknown number” of ISIS militants were also killed.
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U.S. Central Command did not have any information confirming al-Afri’s death, and refuted any suggestions that coalition forces struck a mosque. CENTCOM released a statement to that effect Wednesday:
We are aware of media reports that the second-in-command of ISIL has been killed in a Coalition airstrike in Tal Afar and have no information to corroborate these claims. However, we can confirm that Coalition aircraft did not strike a mosque as some of the press reporting has alleged.
“We have significant mitigation measures in place within the targeting process and during the conduct of operations to reduce the potential risks of collateral damage and civilian casualties,” the statement also said.
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Last week, coalition forces struck 18 targets in Tal Afar, Sinjar, Mosul, Fallujah, Beiji, and Huwayjah in Iraq, and Hasakah in Syria. Those strikes knocked out key ISIS fighting strongholds.
The mission was part of Operation Inherent Resolve which, according to the Defense Department, aims “to eliminate the ISIL terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria, the region, and the wider international community.”
Do you think the military is on the right track to knock ISIS out? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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