ISIS Leaders Targeted in Lead up to Mosul

Coalition forces in Iraq have shifted their focus to targeting ISIS leadership in recent weeks as part of “prepping the battlefield” for the Iraqi Security Forces’ effort to retake the city of Mosul, Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a Thursday briefing. In the last 30 days, 18 ISIS leaders have been killed by airstrikes, Dorrian said, including a number of foreign fighters and leaders of intelligence and communications operations. “By taking these individuals off the battlefield, it creates some really disruptive effects to enemy command and control,” he said. Dorrian estimated that Mosul, the center of ISIS operations in Iraq, currently holds 3,000-4,500 enemy personnel, “a mixture of Iraqi and foreign fighters.” Over the past two years, Dorrian said, ISIS fighters have “continued to dig in and build elaborate defenses,” probably including tunnel networks. For this reason, ISF forces have also received “urban combat training” in preparation to retake the city.