- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Airstrikes have eliminated a senior figure within the Islamic State group and an explosives expert with links to al Qaeda, the Pentagon confirmed Tuesday.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters that airstrikes launched earlier this summer have killed Abu Bakr al Turkmani, an influential member of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, and David Drugeon, a French national accused of plotting attacks against the United States.

Turkmani “was an ISIL administrative emir, he was part of al Qaeda in Iraq before joining ISIL and was a close associate to multiple ISIL senior leaders in Iraq,” the press secretary explained. The Pentagon said this week that he met his demise by an airstrike launched by the anti-ISIS coalition led by the U.S. on Sept. 10 near Tal Afar, Iraq.

The Islamic State operative’s death “will help disrupt ISIL operations in the Tal Afar area and shows that their leadership is not beyond the coalition’s reach,” Mr. Cook said.

An airstrike similarly killed Drugeon near Aleppo, Syria, on July 5, the Defense Department said. The press secretary told reporters this week that the Frenchman had linked up with the Khorasan group, a network of veteran al Qaeda operatives, and had been plotting attacks against western targets.

“This action will degrade and disrupt ongoing external operations of al Qaeda against the United States, its allies and its partners,” Mr. Cook said.

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