Three prominent senior members of Islamic State, also known as ISIS, were reportedly killed by U.S. airstrikes in northern Iraq, reports New York Daily News.
The ISIS members include Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, a top aide, and two senior members: the Islamic State’s military leader in Tal Afar and Baghdadi aide Abu Hajar Al-Sufi.
According to Pentagon spokesman Col. Steve Warren, the U.S. wasn’t targeting these leaders or any specific member of ISIS, but if these senior members were with the group at the time of the airstrikes, they would be brought down. He would not confirm whether the three ISIS members were killed, reports NBC News.
The announcement follows news that both President Obama and British Prime Minster David Cameron had lobbied NATO leaders and allies in the Middle East to help fight against ISIS.
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In a joint op-ed published in The Times of London this week they wrote: “There are some who say that we shouldn’t get involved in addressing these threats. There are others who doubt if NATO can adapt to meet the challenges we face. It is crucial we address these beliefs head on.”
Obama, Cameron and Vice President Joe Biden have used firmer language and threats against ISIS after another video was released this week by the terrorist group showing them beheading American journalist Steven Sotloff. Biden this week called ISIS members “barbarians” and said they would be followed to the “gates of hell.”
At the same time, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called for all of its members to unite in an effort to stop the deadly group: “The international community as a whole has an obligation to stop the Islamic state from advancing further,” he said.
Iraqi security officials say the deadly airstrike occurred in the ISIS-controlled city of Mosul.