Airstrikes kill ISIS plotters in Syria
Posted August 3
The US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria said it killed 12 members of the terror group operating inside Syria in recent days, many of whom were involved in planning attacks against Western targets.
The strikes, which occurred over the last few months, targeted several members of ISIS, including Lavdrim Muhaxheri, an ethnic Albanian from Kosovo who was responsible for plotting to bomb a 2016 soccer match between Israel and Albania in the Albanian city of Elbasan, according to a press release from the coalition.
Muhaxeri, who the coalition said was the "self-proclaimed leader of ISIS foreign fighters from Kosovo," had a major role promoting jihadist ideology within Europe and encouraging foreign fighters to travel to ISIS-controlled territory.
"The coalition will not stop targeting ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria until this threat is removed, the region is secure and our homelands are safe," coalition spokesman Col. Ryan Dillon told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday.
The other ISIS members killed included figures responsible for encouraging lone wolf attacks around the world and recruiters who facilitated the movement of foreign fighters to Syria.
The strikes mainly took place in Abu Kamal and Mayadin, Syria, along the middle Euphrates River valley, where many ISIS leaders and fighters have moved since military operations to liberate the group's "capital" in Raqqa began in the last few months.
In his briefing with reporters, Dillon seemed to dispute any concern this area would become a sanctuary for ISIS leaders to plot external attacks.
"If we know that there are ISIS leaders, fighters and resources that are being used, they are ripe for strikes," Dillon said. "Wherever they decide that they want to operate out of, it is not going to be safe for them to conduct operations, whether it's from their headquarters, whether it's running logistics, whether it's setting up and building IEDs."
While the coalition's primary focus in Syria continues to be the operation to wrest Raqqa from ISIS, Dillon said strikes against ISIS targets throughout Syria, including the Euphrates River valley, would continue.