A former Guantanamo detainee known as Jamal al Harith (formerly Ronald Fiddler) launched a suicide attack with a vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) south of Mosul earlier this week. He is at least the second former Guantanamo detainee to launch a suicide attack in or around Mosul on behalf of the Islamic State and its predecessor organization.
The US-led coalition targeted Rachid Kassim near Mosul, Iraq earlier this week. Kassim is an Islamic State operative responsible for “remote-controlling” attacks in France. He has been tied to several plots.
An Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) member embedded with Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces has been killed near Tal Afar, to the west of Mosul.
Along with Iran, Hezbollah helped the PMF “with training and planning, and with weapons and equipment” to the Popular Mobilization Forces with the knowledge of Iraq’s prime minister, according to Abu Mahdi al Muhandis.
Mahmud Al Isawi was killed as the US-led coalition has stepped up its efforts to help drive the Islamic State from its Syrian capital. The Pentagon said that 16 “significant members” of the organization’s external operations network have been killed in 2016.
The US military has targeted senior and mid-level Islamic State leaders, external operations planners, and military commanders while also striking the group’s military and civilian infrastructure throughout Iraq and Syria in an effort to deny it territory and deal it a “lasting defeat.”
The announcement is part of a US military effort to stay ahead of criticism from media and international non-governmental organizations for striking jihadists as they use protected sites to attack allied forces.
CJTFOIR has launched 76 strikes in and around Raqqah since Dec. 20. For comparison, the US launched 23 airstrikes against the Islamic State in and around Mosul during the same time period.