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U.S.-led airstrike killed militants involved in Paris terror attacks, Pentagon says

By Andrew V. Pestano
U.S.-led airstrike killed militants involved in Paris terror attacks, Pentagon says
An airstrike conducted by the U.S.-led international coalition against the Islamic State killed three militants, including two who helped carry out the November 13, 2015, Islamic State attacks in Paris in which 130 people died. File Photo by U.S. Air Force

WASHINGTON, Dec. 13 (UPI) -- Islamic State operatives who participated in the deadly terror attacks in Paris last year were killed in a U.S. airstrike this month, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The coalition strike was conducted on Dec. 4 in Raqqa, Syria, and killed three Islamic State leaders who recruited foreign fighters for its insurgency and helped facilitate attacks in foreign countries.

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Two of those killed -- Salah Gourmat and Sammy Djedou -- were involved in helping militants carry out the Paris attacks in which at least 130 people died. Both were associates of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, another Islamic State leader who helped carry out foreign attacks before his death in August by a coalition airstrike.

The third Islamic State leader killed in the airstrike was Walid Hamman -- "a suicide attack planner who was convicted in absentia in Belgium for a terror plot disrupted in 2015."

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"All three were part of a network led by Boubaker Al-Hakim, who was killed in another coalition airstrike on Nov. 26," the Defense Department said in a statement. "The three were working together to plot and facilitate attacks against Western targets at the time of the strike."

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The Defense Department said the coalition has killed five top Islamic State militants who attempted to attack foreign targets since mid-November. The coalition, named the Combined Joint Task Force: Operation Inherent Resolve, has been using intelligence gathered from territory taken back recently from the Islamic State to carry out operations. On Oct. 17, Iraqi security forces began a ground offensive to capture Mosul away from Islamic State control -- seizing hundreds of square miles in the process.

"Those who seek to attack the United States, our coalition partners and allies around the world will find no safe haven," the Defense Department added.

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