WASHINGTON, Dec. 29, 2015 —
A high-value Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant leader killed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes Dec. 24 was just one of 10 ISIL leaders targeted and killed so far this month, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren confirmed today.
Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon via a live satellite feed from Baghdad, Warren said Syria-based Charaffe al Mouadan was “planning additional attacks against the West,” and was directly linked to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, leader of the cell responsible for the terrorist attacks in Paris last month.
The ISIL leaders were killed in coalition airstrikes that took place from Dec. 7-27, he said, noting that several were external attack planners linked to the Paris attacks.
‘Striking at the Head of the Snake’
“In addition to our tactical operations, we are also striking at the head of this snake by hunting down and killing ISIL leaders,” Warren said.
Warren also provided descriptions of the other nine deceased ISIL leaders:
-- Rawand Dilsher Taher, an external operations facilitator; and Khalil Ahmad Ali al-Wais, also known as Abu Wadhah of Kirkuk province, Afghanistan. Taher, killed Dec. 7 near Raqqah, Syria, was a trusted ISIL member who assisted with command and control and handling and transferring money and equipment. Abu Wadhad, the ISIL emir of Kirkuk province had a long history of targeting U.S. and Iraqi forces, and he was killed Dec. 7 near Huwayjah, Iraq.
-- Abu Anas, an ISIL bomb cell facilitator, was killed Dec. 8 near Kirkuk, Iraq. His death, Warren said, “will disrupt ISIL's ability to conduct [improvised explosive device] attacks near Kirkuk.”
-- Yunis Khalash, aka Abu Jawdat, who was ISIL’s deputy financial emir in Mosul, was killed Dec 9. His death will burden senior ISIL cadre to find a technically skilled and trustworthy replacement, Warren said. Mithaq Najim, ISIL’s deputy emir in Kirkuk province was also killed Dec. 9 near Huwayjah, Iraq. “Najim's removal disrupts ISIL’s ability to train, command and maintain fighters in Kirkuk province,” Warren said.
-- Syria-based Bangladeshi Siful Haque Sujan was killed Dec. 10 near Raqqah, Syria. Sujan was an external operations planner and a United Kingdom-educated computer systems engineer, Warren said, adding Sujan supported ISIL hacking efforts, anti-surveillance technology and weapons development. “Now that he's dead, ISIL has lost a key link between networks,” he said.
-- Akram Muhammad Sa'ad Faris, also known as Akram Aabu, an ISIL commander and executioner, was killed Dec. 12 near his base of operations in Tal Afar, Iraq.
-- Abdel Kader Hakim, another ISIL external operations facilitator, was killed Dec. 26 in Mosul, Iraq. Hakim was a veteran fighter and forgery specialist who had links to the Paris attack network, who also was part of ISIL’s external operations group who enabled attacks against Western targets. “His death removes an important facilitator with many connections in Europe,” Warren said.
--Tashin al-Hayali, an external operations facilitator, was killed Dec. 27 near Mosul, Warren said.
(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)