Dead Cheerleader

Coalition airstrikes and raids have killed more than 120 high value members of ISIS since the beginning of 2015, including those planning outside attacks. Airstrikes targeting financial centers have knocked out hundreds of millions of ISIS cash, and the terrorist organization’s oil revenue has dropped by 50 percent, the coalition said Wednesday. While these strikes have had a “measurable impact” on the group, coalition spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said, it is still able to hold important ground, such as the Iraqi cities of Fallujah and Mosul, and carry out attacks, such as Tuesday’s bombings in Baghdad. Since the coalition’s fight against ISIS began, ISIS has lost 20 percent of the ground it once held in Syria, and 45 percent in Iraq. Recent strikes against high-value targets include the May 13 killing of Abu Sufyan, who carried out chemical attacks in the Euphrates River Valley, and Abu Hamza, a mid-level commander who also planned attacks against US forces during Operation Iraqi Freedom. While Hamza served like a brigade-level commander, he was also a motivator for local fighters. “They saw him as a cheerleader, that’s kind of how we referred to him,” Warren said. “He was sort of a cheerleader for the local forces here. And he’s a cheerleader who will cheer no more. Because he’s dead.”