US Claims ‘Key’ ISIS Leader Killed in Iraq Airstrike

Abu Waheeb Led Execution of Alawites in 2013

Pentagon officials are claiming that Abu Waheeb, a top ISIS military official in Iraq’s Anar Province, was killed Friday in an airstrike near the town of Rutba. Officials presented his death as a huge blow to ISIS operations in Iraq’s largest province.

Waheeb has been reported killed several times in the past couple of years, after being among the detainees who escaped from an Iraqi prison in 2012. He had been sentenced to death over charges of being a member of al-Qaeda in Iraq, the predecessor of ISIS.

Waheeb’s primary claim to fame, apart from being one of hundreds to escape prison, is that he was behind the 2013 executions of three Alawite truck drivers along the order between Iraq and Syria, with a video released showing him shooting them.

Though Waheeb is a figure in the leadership of an ISIS-affiliated force, the al-Anbar Lions, it isn’t wholly clear how highly he ranks in the organization at large, and as is often the case, the US may be assuming him to be a “key” leader simply because they’ve heard of him before, as officials have previously conceded they don’t have great intelligence on the inner workings of the ISIS caliphate.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.