Sunday, November 19, 2017 | ePaper

Russian air strike kills 40 IS fighters in Syria

  • Print
Reuters, Moscow :
A Russian air strike has killed around 40 Islamic State fighters, including four senior commanders, near the eastern Syrian city of Deir al-Zor, Russia's defense ministry said on Friday.
The strike, carried out by Su-34 fighter-bombers and Su-35 fighters, came after an intelligence report on Sept. 5 showed that top Islamic State commanders were meeting at a secret underground command post in the vicinity of Deir al-Zor, the ministry said on its Facebook page.
Among those killed was Abu Muhammad al-Shimali, who oversees foreign fighters at IS, it said.
The defense ministry also said it had evidence that Gulmurod Khalimov, Islamic State's "minister of war", was present at the meeting in the bunker and had been fatally wounded in the strike and evacuated to the al-Muhasan area, 20 km (13 miles) southeast of Deir al-Zor.
Khalimov, the U.S.-trained commander of Tajikistan's elite police force, defected to Islamic State in April 2015 and later posted a video address, vowing to return home to establish sharia law in his Central Asian nation and to take jihad to Russia and the United States.
A top official at Tajikistan's national security service told Russia's RIA news agency that Moscow had been asked to provide details proving Khalimov's elimination.
On Tuesday Syrian government forces, supported by Russian air strikes and cruise missile launches, reached troops besieged for years by Islamic State in Deir al-Zor, the militants' last major stronghold in Syria.
"According to confirmed data, among the killed fighters are four influential field commanders including Deir Ezzor emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali," the ministry said.
Gulmurod Khalimov, who is known as the IS group's minister of war and the highest-ranking defector from ex-Soviet Tajikistan, suffered a "fatal injury," it added.
Reports of Khalimov's death have surfaced before, and the Tajik interior ministry said it could not immediately confirm the claim. "We are working with our Russian colleagues to obtain reliable information," a spokesman told AFP.
But a spokesman for the Tajik security services, speaking to AFP, suggested that "this time around" he might have been killed.
"We're checking the information," he said.
In 2016, the United States offered a $3 million bounty for information leading to Khalimov's location or arrest.
Russia's SU warplanes dropped "bunker buster" bombs on the fighters as they were meeting near Deir Ezzor to discuss how to respond to the advance of the Syrian army, Moscow said.
Backed by Russia, Syrian troops on Tuesday broke through a years-long siege imposed by IS militants on tens of thousands of civilians in Deir Ezzor.

More News For this Category

Palestinians vow to suspend talks if US closes PLO mission

Palestinians vow to suspend talks if US closes PLO mission

AP, Washington :The Palestinians threatened on Saturday to suspend all communication with the United States if the Trump administration follows through with plans to close their diplomatic office in Washington.

Hariri announces return to Lebanon as crisis simmers

Hariri announces return to Lebanon as crisis simmers

AP, Paris :Lebanon's Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he will return home in the coming days from where he will declare a political stance for the first time since making

News In Brief

Defiant Hun Sen tells US to cut all aid to CambodiaReuters, Phnom Penh Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen challenged the United States on Sunday to cut all aid after it

Trump blasts Hillary for questioning legitimacy of election result

Trump blasts Hillary for questioning legitimacy of election result

Xinhua, Washington :US President Donald Trump on Saturday denounced allegations of Hillary Clinton who questioned the legitimacy of his victory in last year's presidential election.Calling his Democratic presidential rival the

Merkel in final push for coalition to avert crisis

AFP, Berlin :Chancellor Angela Merkel will make a last push Sunday to forge a government, in a twin battle to save her political future and avert fresh elections that could

Zimbabwe's ruling party to expel Mugabe, war vets head says

Zimbabwe's ruling party to expel Mugabe, war vets head says

Reuters, Harare :Zimbabwe's ruling party will dismiss 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe as its leader on Sunday and kick him out, stripping its ruler for the last 37 years of one

German parties head into long weekend of coalition talks

German parties head into long weekend of coalition talks

Reuters, Berlin :Germany's would-be coalition partners continued talks on Friday after all-night negotiations failed to produce a breakthrough, with Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives saying they would compromise further on

Zimbabwe's ruling party to hold rally as anti-Mugabe tide rises

Zimbabwe's ruling party to hold rally as anti-Mugabe tide rises

Reuters, Harare :President Robert Mugabe's own ruling ZANU-PF party wants him to step down and plans to hold a rally in Zimbabwe's capital Harare on Saturday to make the

Elizabeth appoints 1st woman in 650 years to top job in Houses of Parliament

Xinhua, London :British Queen Elizabeth II approved Friday the appointment of Sarah Clarke as the new Black Rod in the House of Lords, a job held by 60 men

Syria toxic gas inquiry to end after Russia again blocks UN renewal

Syria toxic gas inquiry to end after Russia again blocks UN renewal

Reuters, United Nations :An international investigation into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria will end on Friday after Russia blocked for the third time in