Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) A senior Islamic State leader responsible for recruiting foreign members was killed in an Iraqi airstrike in western Mosul, a security official was quoted as saying.
The strike, which was carried out three days ago, targeted al-Mazlomin village at the IS-held strategic town of Tal Afar, and killed Abbas Suleiman Ismail AlHaider, aka Abu Aesha, along with four other Azerbaijani nationals, according to a security source.
Iraqi government forces have approached the final districts in eastern Mosul where Islamic State militants locate. The liberation of that region after three months of operations would be the most remarkable victory over the extremist group since a campaign was launched to retake the city in mid October.
After retaking eastern Mosul, Iraqi generals hope to move immediately beyond the Tigris River towards Islamic State strongholds in the west, where military observers predict a tougher battle due to the higher density of the population.
IS militants have reportedly withdrew from the east to the west, with many reportedly killed upon crossing Tigris River to the other side. Many group leaders have been killed, according to news reports and military statements by Iraqi and international coalition commanders. Counter-Terrorism Forces said last week they had killed 3300 militants since the start of operations.
The conflict in Mosul has displaced at least 181.000 civilians, according to the Iraqi government, and the United Nations had said the conflict would threaten to displacement at least one million.