Isis latest: At least three leaders of extremist militant group killed in US airstrikes in Iraq

The leader of Isis in Iraq is said to be among those killed

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At least three senior leaders of Isis have been killed in US-led air strikes in Iraq in the past six weeks, America’s top military official said today.

Air strikes between 3 December and 9 December killed Haji Mutazz, a deputy to the Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and Abd al-Basit, the top military commander, General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Wall Street Journal newspaper. In late November, an attack killed mid-level commander Radwin Talib, who is in control of Iraq’s second city Mosul, he also revealed.

Gen Dempsey said that the raids were aimed at dampening the group’s ability to carry out attacks, supply its fighters and finance its operations.

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The subsequent deaths of Mutazz and al-Basit would deal a particularly serious blow to Isis’s “planning and command and control” he said. Other defence officials told the newspaper that the recent strikes were beginning to significantly weaken the group’s leadership structure in Iraq.

However, Ahmed Ali, an analyst at Washington-based think-tank the Institute of the Study of War, said the hindrance may only be temporary, as Isis was likely to have replacements lined up.

Mirroring Gen Dempsey’s analysis, Mr Ali said that Mutazz was one of Baghdadi’s “closest and most senior aides”. The interview followed a press conference at the Pentagon, where Lieutenant-General James Terry said that despite the US-led coalition’s recent successes, it would take time  to achieve a turning point against Isis.

He said that the first US air strikes had taken place only four months ago and counselled patience, estimating that it would “at least take a minimum of three years” to bring the group to its knees.

Additional reporting by Reuters