The Pentagon confirmed May 9 that an air strike carried out by the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq had killed a leading Islamic State (ISIS) member.
Abu Wahib was the target of the strike, which was conducted on a vehicle in Anbar Province, according to Daily Mail.
“We view him as a significant leader in ISIL leadership overall, not just in Anbar Province,” said Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook, according to the Mail. “Removing him from the battlefield will be a significant step forward.”
Three other ISIS members were killed in the air strike.
Wahib was a former Al Qaeda member, and appeared in several videos showing the execution of prisoners.
Cook did not say whether the strike was carried out by a warplane or drone.
“Since the start of 2015, we've targeted and killed more than 40 high-value ISIL and Al-Qaeda external attack plotters. We have removed cell leaders, facilitators, planners and recruiters,” Colonel Steve Warren, a U.S. military spokesman based in Iraq, wrote online last week.
U.S. air operations began in August 2014. Other high profile ISIS members killed since then include Suleiman Abd Shabib al-Jabouri, who was a member of ISIS’ war council, Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, who was ISIS’ second-in-command, and Omar al-Shishani, who functioned as ISIS’ defense minister.
Despite such strikes, ISIS continues to control the cities of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq.
The coalition is planning a mission to retake Mosul with the support of Iraqi forces, but it remains unclear when this will beginning.
The plans are reportedly being held up by divisions between the anti-ISIS forces, according to RT. Iraqi Shia forces recently clashed with Kurdish peshmerga militia in a great feud.
Britain has several hundred special forces troops on the ground supporting the Iraqi troops. Washington has announced it will send 16 Apache helicopters to Iraq to help in the fight.
Another way international troops are seeking to defeat ISIS is through the capture of leading members. British, American and Australian special forces soldiers took three ISIS leaders prisoner in an undercover raid in Mosul this week.
“Seizing enemy commanders has always been a key driver in changing the way your opponent thinks; it will unsettle them and may force them to make mistakes,” a senior military source told the Daily Star.