The US-led coalition has killed 10 high-ranking Islamic State militants within the last month in a strategy of "striking at the head of this snake by hunting down and killing" the group's leaders, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
One of the militants killed was a planner directly linked to the suspected mastermind of last month's attacks in Paris, spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.
Charaffe al-Mouadan, described as a Syrian-based member of the Islamic State movement, was "actively planning additional attacks against the West," Warren said.
"We killed him on December 24 in Syria," Warren said.
Al-Mouadan is a French national believed to have had a "direct link" to Paris attack leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who was killed November 18 during a police raid in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis.
The militants were killed mainly by drone strikes in Iraq and Syria, Warren told reporters at the Pentagon.
"We will continue to hunt [Islamic State] leaders who are working to recruit, plan and inspire attacks against the United States of America and our allies," Warren said.
One of the suspected militants still on the run is Salah Abdeslam, whose brother blew himself up in a Paris restaurant that was among the targeted sites in the November 13 attacks.
An international arrest warrant has been issued for Abdeslam, who has been on the run since the Islamic State terrorist attacks. He is suspected of having joined his brother in targeting restaurants and bars the night of the attacks.
The Pentagon described the 10 militants killed as the group's chief and deputy chief in Kirkuk province; the leader of a unit that planted improvised explosive devices; a top finance official in Mosul; a field commander in Tal Afar; a British-educated computer expert; and four external operations coordinators, including Al-Mouadan and another man linked to the November terrorist attacks in Paris.
The strikes were conducted as part of the operation to eliminate the Islamic State terrorist group and the threat they pose to Iraq, Syria and the international community, the Pentagon said.
Aside from the US, the countries participating in the operations in Iraq include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Jordan, the Netherlands and Britain. Coalition nations conducting strikes in Syria include Australia, Bahrain, Canada, France, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and Britain.
Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - 18:38