4 Sep 2014

Islamic State leader’s right hand man reportedly killed

As the UK weighs up joining the US in airstrikes targeting Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, Iraq’s government says that an airstrike has killed the right-hand man of the leader of IS.

According to Iraq’s defence ministry, a senior aide to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in a strike on the city of Mosul, Iraq. He has been named as Abu Hajar al-Suri.

Three senior Islamic State figures were killed, Iraqi officials today told NBC News.

NBC News report that an explosive operative and an Islamic State leader of the nearby town Tel Afar were also killed.

Social media reports said the strike in which al-Suri died was on the Technical Institute in Mosul.

Twitter accounts linked to the Iraqi army described Abu Hajar al-Suri, as the head of the Islamic State military council.

There has been no confirmation of the attack from Islamic State sources.

Iraq and the United States have targeted Islamic State militants with air strikes in recent weeks, particularly the IS militants who briefly took control of the Mosul dam area.

UK plans

David Cameron said today that he would not rule out joining the US in airstrikes targeting Islamic State.

It emerged on Thursday that UK is now planning to arm Kurds who are fighting IS in northern Iraq. The UK has previously delivered military equipment, but no arms to the fighters.

In recent weeks Britain has sent 10 tonnes of non-lethal equipment including body armour and helmets.

Britain will not send arms to Baghdad until after the country has formed a government, which is due to occur before 11 September.

In a joint article with President Obama in the Times, Mr Cameron said democratic nations must not be intimidated by the threats.

“If terrorists think we will weaken in the face of their threats they could not be more wrong. Countries like Britain and America will not be cowed by barbaric killers,” the two leaders wrote.

In other developments, Turkish authorities are said to have arrested a number of militants seeking to travel to fight with Islamic State, after Turkey was criticised for not doing enough to prevent jihadists travelling through the country.