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ISIS Leader Linked to Paris Attacks 'Mastermind' Killed in US Strike

Image: ISIS Leader Linked to Paris Attacks 'Mastermind' Killed in US Strike

Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 12:56 PM

An Islamic State leader with "direct" ties to the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks was among 10 of the group's higher-ups killed in Syria and Iraq this month, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

The US military says such strikes are helping weaken the jihadist group, which captured large parts of Iraq and Syria last year but has recently seen significant setbacks including this week's loss of Ramadi in Iraq.

Baghdad-based US military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren told reporters that French national Charaffe el Mouadan was killed in a US-led coalition air strike on December 24.

Mouadan had been actively plotting further attacks against the West, Warren said, without giving additional details.

"He was a Syrian-based ISIL member with a direct link to Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the Paris attacks cell leader," Warren said in a video call, using an alternative acronym for the IS group.

Abaaoud was killed in a major police raid in northern Paris five days after the attacks that left 130 people dead and wounded hundreds more in a series of coordinated suicide attacks and shootings across the French capital.

A French law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP there was no immediate evidence showing Mouadan was involved in the Paris attacks.

The official said Mouadan had been close to Samy Amimour, one of the suicide bombers that attacked the Bataclan music venue, and he also knew Omar Ismail Mostefai, another one of the attackers.

 

 

A French anti-terror official told AFP Mouadan was not known to have strong ties to Abaaoud.

Mouadan, 26, was the son of Morocco-born parents and the last of eight children.

He grew up in the suburbs of Paris, and was arrested in October 2012 while getting ready to leave with two neighborhood friends for either Yemen or Afghanistan, via Somalia, a source close to the investigation told AFP.

The United States has since August 2014 led an international coalition attacking the IS group in Iraq and Syria.

France started bombing Syria in the wake of the Paris attacks that left 130 dead in a series of coordinated assaults across the city, but Warren would not say if France was involved in the strike against Mouadan.

Among the other leaders killed this month was Abdel Kader Hakim, an "external operations facilitator" who was killed in Mosul, Iraq on December 26.

Warren said Hakim was a veteran fighter and forgery specialist who had links to the Paris attack network, but he did not give additional details.

"His death removes an important facilitator with many connections in Europe," Warren said.

On December 10, Siful Haque Sujan, a Bangladeshi man who was educated in Britain and was allegedly an IS hacker, was killed near the IS stronghold of Raqa in Syria.

After months of preparations, the Iraqi military declared the city of Ramadi liberated from the IS group on Monday after clinching a landmark victory against the jihadists.

Warren said that part of the success in Ramadi and other areas was due to the killing of IS leaders.

"We're striking at the head of this snake," he said, while cautioning that "it's still got fangs."

wat/vlk

© AFP 2017

   
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An Islamic State leader with direct ties to the alleged mastermind of the Paris attacks was among 10 of the group's higher-ups killed in Syria and Iraq this month, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Syria, conflict, US, military
521
2015-56-29
Tuesday, 29 Dec 2015 12:56 PM
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