In what US military officials claim is a major blow to ISIS forces defending the city of Fallujah from an imminent Iraqi military assault, US airstrikes are said to have killed a top ISIS commander in the city, along with “dozens” of fighters.
The Pentagon identified the slain commander as Maher Bilawi, saying he was killed in an airstrike two days ago. The US airstrikes and Iraqi artillery attacks against Fallujah have also killed a number of civilians, according to reports from inside the city.
As with many of the “top commanders” the US kills in airstrikes, Maher Bilawi was heretofore totally unknown, adding to the ongoing appearance that the US tends to posthumously promote slain militants to make their attacks appear more impactful.
Iraqi Shi’ite militias involved with the offensive against Fallujah say they have been told the ground offensive against the city will begin in “days not weeks.” The city has been under ISIS control since January 2014, and residents are said to be fearful of what happens when the overwhelmingly Shi’ite force invades the almost exclusively Sunni city.