US says it has executed IS rocket expert who killed Marine in Iraq

  • Reuters, Baghdad
  • Updated: Apr 03, 2016 22:05 IST
A still from an Italian Air Force Predator drone video shows images used to pinpoint targets in Islamic State territory in Iraq. (REUTERS File Photo)

The anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition conducting airstrikes in Iraq and Syria has killed a militant believed to be responsible for an attack on US troops in northern Iraq last month that left a marine dead.

Jasim Khadijah, a former Iraqi officer not considered a high-value target, was killed by a drone strike overnight in northern Iraq, coalition spokesman US Army Col. Steve Warren told reporters in Baghdad.

“We have information (that) he was a rocket expert, he controlled these attacks,” said Warren, referring to the shelling of a base used by US troops near the town of Makhmour, located between Mosul and Kirkuk.

That attack killed marine staff sergeant Louis Cardin and wounded eight others, all part of a company-sized detachment of less than 200 troops. They provide force protection fire to Iraqi army troops, who are making slow progress in a campaign to clear areas around Mosul, an IS stronghold.

Cardin’s was the second combat death of an American service member in Iraq since the start of the campaign to fight the militant group in 2014.

Warren said five other Islamic State fighters were killed in the air strike.

In another development in Syria, the dreaded group has executed 15 of its fighters in the largest execution of the militant group’s security services so far in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday.

The killings followed the arrest of 35 of its members on Saturday in Raqqa, according to Britain-based observatory, which monitors the five-year-old Syrian conflict through a network of sources on the ground.

The members were killed in connection with the assassination of senior IS figure Abu Hija al-Tunisi, who died on Wednesday in an air strike, the observatory said.

Reuters could not independently verify this information.

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