ISIS leaders killed by airstrikes, Pentagon says

U.S. and coalition air strikes have killed multiple senior and mid-level Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leaders since mid-November, the Pentagon said Thursday.

A U.S. official confirmed the deaths of at least two senior leaders and a mid-level leader that was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. 

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Between Dec. 3 and 9, U.S. airstrikes killed Abd al Basit, the “military emir” of ISIS, and Haji Mutazz, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's right hand man, the official confirmed. 

“We believe that the loss of these key leaders degrades ISIL's ability to command and control current operations against Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), including Kurdish and other local forces in Iraq,” Pentagon press secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement Thursday. 

In late November, another strike killed a mid-level commander, Radwin Talib, ISIS's governor in Mosul, the official confirmed. 

“It is disruptive to their planning and command and control,” Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told the WSJ in an interview Thursday. “These are high-value targets, senior leadership.”

Kirby noted that in conducting airstrikes, “leadership, command and control nodes, facilities, and equipment are always part of our targeting calculus.”

“The success of these airstrikes demonstrates the coalition's resolve in enabling the ISF to disrupt and degrade ISIL as they continue to regain control of their territory,” he said.