Iraqi air force says surgical strike killed 13 militant leaders, 64 others

By Doug G. Ware  |  Feb. 13, 2017 at 5:33 PM
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Feb. 13 (UPI) -- More than a dozen militant leaders of the Islamic State were killed in a coalition airstrike in Iraq, the country's air force said Monday.

Military officials said the strike, in Anbar on Saturday, killed dozens of terror operatives and 13 leaders. The group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was thought to be present at the compound but he was not found among the dead.

"The intelligence agency carefully watched a motorcade of the ISIS caliphate leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi travel from Syrian territory until they reached Iraq," a statement by the Iraqi war media office said Monday.

The Iraqi air force said they believed a convoy of militants from Syria traveled to meet operatives in Iraq to discuss strategic issues and select a successor to Baghdadi.

Forty militant fighters and 24 suicide bombers were killed in the strike, which was conducted jointly by the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command, officials said.

Among those killed were Abu Janat al-Rawi, a top Islamic State security leader, media official Abu Zaid and Abu Asid, the group's leader in Tal Afar.

A Pentagon news briefing on Monday discussed recent terror strikes in Syria and Iraq but did not mention the Anbar operation.

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