Top ISIS Leader in Iraq Killed in Coalition Airstrike

A U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed the leader of the Islamic State group in Iraq on Jan. 27, a blow to the group’s effort to grow and continue operating.

The coalition aircraft were supporting an Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service raid near Kirkuk, which killed the leader “Abu Yasir” and 10 other ISIS members, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said on Twitter.

“The Coalition will continue to remove key leaders from the battlefield and degrade the terrorist organization. Terrorists-you will never live in peace- you will be pursued to the ends of the earth,” Marotto tweeted.

The strike comes about one week after ISIS claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing attack in Baghdad that killed at least 32 people.

The group has continued to operate mostly underground in both Iraq and Syria after the coalition and partner forces eliminated ISIS’s physical caliphate in 2019 and killed its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in an October 2019 raid by U.S. forces.

In November 2020, the U.S.-led coalition conducted 14 airstrikes consisting of 34 total engagements in Iraq and Syria, OIR announced in early January. This total is much smaller than the height of coalition operations before the caliphate ended, but was a slight increase from the previous month.

In the first month of 2021, partner forces in Iraq and Syria had conducted 82 operations against ISIS, “preventing 63 terrorists from committing acts of terror,” OIR announced on Jan. 29.