Nine fugitive Islamic State terrorists blown up in airstrikes by the US-led coalition
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- Islamic State ISIS is an Islamic extremist terrorist organization controlling territory in Iraq...[+]
Four ISIS camps have been obliterated in a series of airstrikes which killed nine fugitive jihadists in Iraq.
Aircraft belonging to the US-led coalition took out a gang of terrorists in a rural part of Iraq which is a ‘known hiding place’ for ISIS supporters, the US military said.
Five terrorists died when three camps were destroyed in Wadi al-Shai on Friday while a second strike wiped out four extremists in a ‘cave’ in Ninewah, officials said.
ISIS lost its last patch of territory in March 2019 but some of its loyalists are still hiding in the deserts and mountains of Iraq and Syria.
US Army spokesman Myles B. Caggins said ISIS followers were being left ‘dazed and disillusioned’ as their leaders were captured and killed.
Caggins said the ISIS hideout in Ninewah had been ‘blasted’ by coalition jets ‘at the request’ of the Iraqi military last Friday.
In Wadi al-Shai, three camps were destroyed after the jihadists were tracked down in ‘densely-vegetated austere terrain’.
Terrorists have been pushed into the wilderness because Iraqi citizens refuse to harbour them in places recently liberated from ISIS control, the US military says.
Coalition airstrikes ‘help destroy ISIS targets in terrain difficult to reach by standard vehicles,’ Caggins said of the Wadi al-Shai strike.
‘Blowing up ISIS hideouts in bucolic locations ultimately results in security in cities and villages,’ he said.
Each airstrike ‘is conducted at the request of the Government of Iraq to help achieve a permanent defeat of Daesh,’ he said, using another name for ISIS.
Caggins told military website Stars and Stripes that five ISIS militants were believed dead after the Wadi al-Shai strike while another four were killed in Nineveh.
An F-15E Eagle fighter jet carried out the strikes in Wadi al-Shai, he added.
The US military warned that more ISIS leaders and operatives were still hiding in the desert after their ‘safe havens’ were destroyed.
The coalition says it has also ‘significantly disrupted and degraded ISIS propaganda operations, finance, and human trafficking networks’.
The terror group’s supposed ‘caliphate’ crumbled to nothing when its last enclave of Baghouz fell to US-backed Kurdish forces in Syria last March.
ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi subsequently died during a US raid in Syria in October 2019.
Thousands of men, women and children linked to ISIS are being held in prisons and detention camps in northern Syria, sparking periodic fears of a breakout.
Many European countries have been reluctant to bring home citizens of theirs who left for the Middle East to join ISIS.
Europeans comprise a fifth of the roughly 10,000 ISIS fighters held captive in Syria by Kurdish militias, it is believed.
US officials warned earlier this year that ISIS was continuing low-level attacks and had not lost its ‘freedom of movement or ability to hide and transport fighters and supplies in Iraq’s desert and mountainous terrain.’
The continued US presence in Iraq came under pressure earlier this year amid tensions over the American air strike which killed Iranian general Qassem Soleimani.
Iraq’s parliament voted in January for the departure of foreign troops from the country, and the US says it will ‘continue reducing forces from Iraq’.
Western military trainers are expected to remain in Iraq to assist the fight against ISIS, but it is not clear how many.
The United States has had around 5,000 troops stationed in the country, and coalition allies another 2,500.
Source: Daily Mail