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.
The establishment of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) is an extension of Iran’s plan to export the revolution, which keeps war against Sunni extremists from reaching the country’s borders, a senior adviser to the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force argues.
State has upped the reward for Abu Bakr al Baghdadi as the Islamic State has been under significant pressure in Iraq. The $25 million reward puts Baghdadi on par with Ayman al Zawahiri, the emir of al Qaeda.
The Defense Department has confirmed that Boubaker al-Hakim, a French-Tunisian Islamic State leader, was killed in Raqqa, Syria on Nov. 26. Al-Hakim had ties to Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, an al Qaeda-affiliated group, before defecting to the Islamic State’s cause. He admittedly assassinated one Tunisian politician in 2013 and knew the assailants responsible for a second slaying.