A pair of Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft fly in formation June, 7, 2014 over Kansas. The aircraft, assigned to the 188th Fighter Wing, Ebbing Air National Guard Base, Fort Smith, Ark., were the final two A-10s to depart Fort Smith as the 188th FW transitions from a fighter mission to an intelligence, reconnaissance and surveillance/remotely piloted aircraft mission. (DOD photo/Senior Airman Sierra Dopfel)
Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon revealed the newest names of ISIS leaders confirmed killed on the battlefield, in his latest update to Pentagon reporters Tuesday.
Dillon said the ISIS leaders join the ranks of 117 others “hunted down” by U.S. aircraft and removed from the battlefield. The newest militants killed include those responsible for the terrorist group’s propaganda apparatus, terrorists involved in plotting attacks abroad, and an official responsible for obtaining weapons for the group.
CENTCOM’s statement listed the newest dead militants as:
- Yusuf Demir, an ISIS media official with links to ISIS networks throughout the Middle East and Europe, killed Oct. 26, 2017 near al-Qaim, Iraq.
- Omer Demir, an ISIS external operations coordinator with links to ISIS networks in the Middle East and Europe, killed Oct. 26, 2017 near al-Qaim, Iraq.
- Abu Yazin, an ISIS senior leader and weapons facilitator, killed Nov. 3, 2017 near Mayadin, Syria.
- Abdellah Hajjiaou, an ISIS external operations plotter, killed Nov. 5, 2017 near Abu Kamal, Syria.
“The removal of these key terrorists disrupts ISIS’ weapons engineering activities and their ability to recruit and train terrorists. It also reduces their ability to plan and conduct terrorist attacks both within Syria and Iraq, and abroad,” the statement continued.
The U.S. campaign against ISIS has had significant success in recent months with the terror group’s loss of its capital and largest city of Mosul. Dillon, however, cautioned that the continued crumbling of the caliphate does not yet spell the end for ISIS and that it continues to pose a major threat.
Some experts even fear the loss of the physical caliphate could increase counter-terrorism concerns in the West as hardened foreign fighters return home. European security services are already inundated with suspects to surveil and have had significant difficulty tracking or screening fighters upon their return.
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