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Islamic State oil commander dead

Kurdish government said the strike was carried out with the help of U.S. Special Forces.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Islamic State oil commander dead
Kurdish and U.S. Special Forces take out terror leader said to be in charge of the group's natural resources operations. Photo by Spc. Jessica Hurst/U.S. Army/UPI | License Photo

ERBIL, Iraq, Aug. 12 (UPI) -- A commander in charge of oil for the Islamic State was killed in operations led by multilateral forces near the Syrian border, the Kurdish government said.

The Security Council for the semiautonomous Kurdistan Regional Government said its counter-terrorism forces, with the help of U.S. Special Forces, conducted an operation near the Iraqi border with Syria that left Sami Jassim Mohammed al-Jabouri, known also as Haji Hamad, dead. The Kurdish government identified him as a senior member of the group calling itself the Islamic State -- also identified as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS.

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"Hamad was responsible for ISIL's natural resources in Iraq and Syria," the statement read. "He and an aide were killed in the operation."

In late July, suicide bombers with the terrorist group attacked the Bai Hassan oil field, one of the largest in the region, leaving one person dead. Militants in a separate incident stormed the nearby AB2 gas compression station, leaving at least four people dead.

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The region is plagued by violence attributed to Islamic State militants and, separately, to the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, known by its Kurdish acronym PKK. Attacks in the immediate area, west of Kirkuk, have been relatively rare since the Islamic State started laying claim to parts of the region two years ago.

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The terrorist group is said to generate anywhere between several hundred thousand dollars and $2 billion in illicit oil trade. The Islamic State, which once controlled large parts of Iraq and Syria, generates revenue by selling oil on the black market at a deep discount.

A U.S. military strategy dubbed Operation Tidal Wave II has focused specifically on supply lines tied to the illicit movement of oil said to be financing regional terrorism operations.

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