ISIS ‘War Minister’ killed in Iraq

Arab media reports on Wednesday morning revealed that Islamic State’s (ISIS) “War Minister” has been killed in an Iraqi airstrike in western Iraq.

The top ISIS jihadist was named as Thamer Mohammed Matlub Hussein al-Mahlawi, also known as “Abu Mua’az,” according to the reports cited byYedioth Aharonoth.

Al-Mahlawi had been running ISIS’s operations in the Haditha district of Anbar province, and was considered one of the top commanders in the brutal terrorist group.

The reports come in the wake of an unprecedented fierce ISIS assault on Haditha over the last three days.

On Monday, the US-led coalition launched two strikes on ISIS targets near Haditha to repulse the attack, marking the first airstrikes in the area since November, reports the Washington Post on Tuesday.

As part of its offensive, ISIS has been using car bombs in the Haditha district and has seized an area near Iraq’s second-largest hydroelectric dam. The six-mile-long Haditha Dam provides power to wide regions of the country, making it a strategic point for controlling Iraq’s electricity and water.

Aside from the dam, Haditha is in general thought to be a strategic region given that it is one of the last government strongholds in the west of the country. Likewise, US troops are training Iraqi soldiers at the Ayn al-Asad military base, just 20 miles from the dam.

ISIS has recently suffered defeats in the region prior to its new assault in Haditha. In December it lost the nearby city of Ramadi, and over the course of the last year it has lost 40% of the area under its control in Iraq according to reports that have come from the US-led coalition.