Qaim (IraqiNews.com) An airstrike killed a senior Islamic State leader and seven of his escort in western Anbar on Tuesday, a military source said.
The source told Alghad Press that U.S.-led coalitio warplanes bombarded the house of Hilal Ismail al-Salmani in the town of al-Qaim, killing him and seven of his companions.
The source told the website that Salmani’s residence had been a major Islamic State headquarter in al-Jazeera region.
Islamic State militants are still holding the towns of Qaim, Rawa and Anna, in western Anbar, since 2014, when they occupied a third of Iraq to proclaim their self-styled “caliphate”. So far, there has not been a wide-scale campaign to retake those regions, but occasional offensives by government forces and allied Popular Mobilization Forces have managed to take over several surrounding villages.
The Iraqi government declared victory over Islamic State in Mosul, the group’s former capital in Iraq, in July, and said it was going to proceed towards other group holdouts, including Anbar. Government troops are currently preparing to expel the group from Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.
Late July, Iraqi army warplanes reportedly dropped millions of messages on western Anbar telling locals that liberation offensives for the province were nearing, and advising them to stay away from militants’ deployments.