US airstrike targets IS minister of war

Washington, March 9 (IANS) A US airstrike in Syria last week targeted a minister of war of the Islamic State extremist group, the Pentagon has said.

The airstrike occurred on March 4 near al Shaddadi, Syria, targeted Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili, the Georgian-born senior IS leader, also known as “Omar the Chechen”, Xinhua quoted Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook as saying on Tuesday.

The Pentagon was still assessing the results of this operation, he added.

According to a US political website the Hill, initial assessments indicated that Batirashvili was likely killed along with other 12 IS fighters, a US defence official who spoke on condition of anonymity was quoted as saying.

Cook added that Batirashvili held numerous top military positions, including the minister of war, within the IS and his potential removal would negatively affect the IS ability to recruit foreign fighters, especially those from Chechnya and the Caucasus regions.

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