SOUTHWEST ASIA --- Coalition airstrikes continue to target and kill Islamic State of Iraq and Syria leaders and foreign fighters in Syria to support coalition partner forces and degrade ISIS' ability to inspire, resource and direct terror attacks around the world, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials said today.
Most recently, officials said in a statement, the coalition targeted and killed ISIS leaders involved in directing external operations as well as in bomb-making activities directed at regional and Western targets.
Coalition forces killed Abd al-Ghafur, a Syria-based ISIS external operations official, and one associate in an airstrike July 24 near Albu Kamal, Syria. His assistant, Abu Hammam, and three other ISIS members were killed by a coalition airstrike July 16 near Dayr Az Zawr, Syria.
Ghafur and Hammam were responsible for managing and directing external operations attacks and participated in attack plotting against the Middle East and Western targets. Their removal deprives ISIS of well-connected members with links to transregional terror support networks, the task force's statement said.
Abu Futtum, an ISIS explosives specialist, and one associate were killed in an airstrike July 13 near Mayadin, Syria. As a bomb maker, Futtum was a part of ISIS' network that instructs and incites others to take the same destructive actions, officials said, encouraging lone wolf attacks across the globe using homemade explosives.
Foreign Fighters Targeted
The coalition also targeted ISIS foreign fighters from southeast Europe operating in Syria as ISIS recruiters, facilitators and attack plotters, responsible for multiple atrocities in Syria.
Lavdrim Muhaxheri was killed by a coalition airstrike June 7 near Mayadin, Syria. Muhaxheri was an ethnic Albanian from Kacanc, Kosovo, and a self-proclaimed leader of ISIS foreign fighters from Kosovo.
He was known as the most prominent and radical ethnic Albanian fighter in Syria and was directly responsible for inciting jihadist ideology within European communities and encouraging foreign fighters to travel to ISIS-controlled territory, officials said. He was also responsible for planning numerous terrorist attacks, they added, including the failed plot to bomb the 2016 Israel-Albania soccer match in Albania.
Other Deaths Confirmed
Four senior ISIS associates of Muhaxheri also are confirmed dead, the statement said.
Jetmir Ismaili, an ISIS external terror attack planner, was killed by a coalition airstrike in Raqqah, Syria, in late June. Ismaili had key connections with ISIS external terror attack planners in Europe and Syria, and personally planned and coordinated external ISIS terror attacks.
Razim Kastrati, an ISIS external terror attack coordinator, was killed along with five other ISIS fighters by a June 16 coalition airstrike near Mayadin, Syria. Kastrati moved and trained foreign fighters from southeast Europe to Syria and was involved in plotting external attacks.
Irfan Hafiqi, a fellow ethnic Albanian and deputy to Muhaxheri, was killed by a June 7 coalition airstrike near Qayira, Syria. Haqifi was involved in plotting terror attacks abroad, and was responsible for recruiting ISIS fighters from Southeast Europe and facilitating their movements to Syria, officials said.
Orhan Ramadani was killed by a coalition airstrike May 21 near Mayadin, Syria. He was responsible for actively planning external terror attacks from Syria.
ISIS poses a global threat because of its commitment to plot, direct and incite terror attacks, and its ability to recruit, move, and finance the terrorists who commit those attacks, the task force's statement said, adding that the coalition will continue to target and kill ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria until ISIS is removed from the region and no longer pose a threat to national homelands around the world.