A US airstrike in Iraq has killed a top ISIS leader who claimed online fame after being likened to donor kebab. The Pentagon confirmed the death of ISIS commander Abu Wahib near the town of Rutba, in the Anbar desert.
Wahib, 29, was mocked on social media after images showing him wearing unusually colored camouflage next to doner meat on a stick emerged on Twitter, FOX News reports. The US airstrike in Iraq targeted Wahib and spokesman Peter Cook said the top ISIS leader was “a former member of Al-Qaeda in Iraq who has appeared in ISIL execution videos.”
“We view him as a significant leader in ISIL leadership overall, not just in Anbar Province,” he added. “Removing him from the battlefield will be a significant step forward.”
The men were traveling in a vehicle when they were hit. Cook provided no additional details and did not specify if a warplane or a drone had carried out the US airstrike in Iraq. The killing of Wahib is the latest in a series of attacks on senior ISIS leaders in Iraq and Syria, where the jihadists still control huge tracts of land despite an intense US-led air campaign dating back to August 2014.
Some other recent targets include Suleiman Abd Shabib al-Jabouri, an “ISIL war council member,” Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli - the ISIS group’s second-in-command also known as Haji Imam - and Omar al-Shishani, the man known as “Omar the Chechen,” who was effectively IS’s defense minister, The Guardian reported.
“ISIL leadership has been hit hard by coalition efforts and this is another example of that. It is dangerous to be an ISIL leader in Iraq and Syria these days, and for good reason,” Cook said.
Wahib, who used the nomme de guerre Abu Wahib , fought for ISIS in Iraq but, at one time, had also been viewed as an heir to former al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) leader Abu Musab al Zarqawi, something that never materialized. He appeared in videos giving speeches like Zarqawi, the grandfather of ISIS, who led al-Qaeda in Iraq until his death in 2006 and before it morphed into today’s most-notorious extremist organization.
In February, US special operations forces captured Sulayman Dawud al-Bakkar, also known as Abu Dawud, who was described as a chemical weapons expert.
“Since the start of 2015, we’ve targeted and killed more than 40 high-value ISIL and Al-Qaeda external attack plotters. We have removed cell leaders, facilitators, planners and recruiters,” Baghdad-based military spokesman Colonel Steve Warren wrote online last week.
The International Business Times said that despite many significant coalition gains against the ISIS group, the jihadists still control the key cities of Raqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq, and assaults to recapture the towns are not expected for months.