The top ISIS leader in Iraq Abu Yasir Al-Issawi was killed in a special operation, Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi announced on January 28.
In a statement, the Iraqi PM said that Abu Yasir was hunted down in response to the January 21 Baghdad bombings. The attack, which was orchestrated by ISIS, claimed the lives of 34 civilians and injured more than 100 others.
Aby Yasir, whose real name is Ali Farhan al-Issawi, was ISIS’ “Wali” [governor] of Iraq. According to the PM statement, he referred to himself as the “deputy” of ISIS’ leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurashi.
Col. Wayne Marotto, a spokesman for the US-led coalition, said that Abu Yasir was killed during an airstrike near Kirkuk on January 27. The airstrike was the result of a joint operation between the coalition and Iraqi government forces.
“Abu Yasir’s death is another significant blow to Daesh resurgence efforts in Iraq,” Col. Marotto said. “The Coalition will continue to remove key leaders from the battlefield and degrade the terrorist organization. Terrorists-you will never live in peace- you will be pursued to the ends of the earth.”
ISIS is yet to comment on the Iraqi government announcement. The group rarely acknowledges the death of its senior commanders.
While the death of Abu Yasir is a significant blow to ISIS, it will not likely affect or slow down the group’s operations in Iraq. ISIS actions in both Iraq and Syria saw a surge following the killing of the group’s founder and leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi in 2019.
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