ISIS Leadership Suffers Severe Blow in Iraq

US-led coalition airstrikes on Thursday eliminated many among ISIS’s top leadership while damaging institutions and logistical capabilities.

The Islamic State (ISIS or ISIL) suffered a major blow overnight due to US-led coalition airstrikes. Dozens of ISIS operatives are reportedly dead, including much of the top leadership, from an attack on the Iraqi town of al-Qaim along the Syrian border. The airstrikes, which were conducted by French pilots, also caused extensive damage to ISIS’s infrastructure.

According to a report by al-Arabiya, the airstrikes focused on five strategic targets in al-Qaim, including a location where ISIS leadership was scheduled to meet. It is not clear whether ISIS head Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is among the dead, but he is believed to have been on his way to the meeting at the time of the attack. Many ISIS institutions were also destroyed.

ISIS commanded civilians to stay in their homes in the aftermath. They are currently being joined by reinforcements to help clear the casualties and fight the coalition. US envoy Gen. John Allen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday that the coalition has thus far eliminated half of ISIS’s leadership and severely hampered its ability to organize logistics.

“Any aura of the invincibility of ISIL has been shattered,” he said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on Monday that 1,465 ISIS members have been eliminated in airstrikes since September 23, 2014. More than 1,000 civilians were also killed.

Nonetheless, ISIS still presents a major threat to the region. The Islamic terror group recently concluded a three-day operation in which at least 220 Assyrian Christians were abducted from 10 villages in northeast Syria. ISIS has killed members of religious minorities, including 21 Coptic Christians in Libya whose beheading was recorded on video last week.

By: Atara Beck, World Israel News

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