ISIS leader in Fallujah killed in American air strikes

May 27, 2016  

American air strikes have killed a leader of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, The Independent reported Friday.

Maher al-Bilawi, the commander of ISIS in Falluajh, was killed on May 25, the report quoted the spokesperson of the U.S. military campaign leading the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria as having said.

Army colonel Steve Warren confirmed the death of al-Bilawi and more than 70 terrorists in recent air strikes when he spoke to the press from a live conference in Baghdad.

Iraqi forces earlier this week began the opening stages of an operation to retake Fallujah from ISIS, one of the toughest targets yet in Baghdad’s war against the jihadists.

Warren on Friday did not specify where the strike took place, how long al-Bilawi had been in the city or how the army came to know the whereabouts of the ISIS leader.

The news comes five days after several news outlets reported that a local official said that air strikes had killed the so-called “Wilayah Fallujah”, al-Bilawi, on May 22, east of the city of Ramadi.

Warren said that news was “incorrect” and the killing two days ago was part of the coalition’s plan to “constantly chip away” at the terrorist network.

“This won’t cause the enemy to stop fighting but it’s a blow and it creates confusion and the leadership has to move around,” he said, according to The Independent.

The air strikes are an attempt to “liberate” the city, Warren stressed.

The Iraqi government has dropped leaflets on the city, asking them to leave or mark their houses via white sheets, while the government works on evacuation routes.

In the last 24 days there have been 20 air strikes across Iraq and Syria, which amounted to the deaths of at least 70 terrorists.

“We are still early in the Fallujah fight so it’s unclear how long this battle will last,” said Warren, who added, “We are going to every city sooner or later. It’s just a case of sequencing.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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