Islamic State ‘minister of war’ targeted in U.S. airstrike

Islamic State ‘minister of war’ targeted in U.S. airstrike

By Loree Lewis   
U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, from the 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, like the ones shown here, helped provide 176 consecutive hours of air support and drop more than 100 bombs in support of Operation Hammer Down II. Air Force close air support assets played a critical role in the success of the operation. (Photo: Tech. Sgt. Michael B. Keller)

Known as "Omar the Chechen", Georgian national Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili "held numerous top military positions within ISIL."

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – The Islamic State “minister of war” was the target of a U.S. airstrike on Friday near al Shadaddi, Syria, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Known as “Omar the Chechen”, Georgian national Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili “held numerous top military positions within ISIL,” the Pentagon said, using an acronym for the so-called Islamic State (IS).

The Pentagon could not confirm his death Wednesday, but said that they “have not seen any sign since [the strike] that he’s alive.”

“At the time of this strike, Batirashvili had been sent to al Shaddadi to bolster ISIL fighters following a series of strategic defeats to local forces we are supporting, cutting off ISIL operations near the Syria-Iraq border,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement.

“His potential removal from the battlefield would negatively impact ISIL’s ability to recruit foreign fighters – especially those from Chechnya and the Caucus regions — and degrade ISIL’s ability to coordinate attacks and defense of its strongholds like Raqqah, Syria, and Mosul, Iraq.”

Batirashvili had a 5 million dollar bounty on his head. His potential death reflects a continuation of the Obama administration’s strategy to take out IS leaders, otherwise called “high value individuals” (HVIs) — “drying up their bench.”

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