U.S. confirms Islamic State ‘minister of war’ killed in prior strike

U.S. confirms Islamic State ‘minister of war’ killed in prior strike

Georgian national Omar the Chechen was hit while working "to bolster" Islamic State fighters in Syria.

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U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagles, from the 389th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron, like the ones shown here, helped provide 176 consecutive hours of air support and drop more than 100 bombs in support of Operation Hammer Down II. Air Force close air support assets played a critical role in the success of the operation. (Photo: Tech. Sgt. Michael B. Keller)

Georgian national Omar the Chechen was hit while working "to bolster" Islamic State fighters in Syria.

This article has been updated, March 16, 2016, 12:32 PM.

WASHINGTON (Talk Media News) – The Islamic State “minister of war” Omar al-Shishani, whom the U.S. attempted to kill in an airstrike in Syria last week, has been confirmed dead, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

“Our assessment that that was a successful strike and he was killed in that strike,” Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said.

Georgian national Shishani, also known as Omar the Chechen, was hit while in the Syrian town of al Shaddadi working “to bolster” Islamic State fighters “following a series of strategic defeats to local” forces that are supported by the U.S.

The Pentagon announced the March 4 strike on March 9, saying at the time that they could not confirm his death.

Shishani‘s real name was Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili. The Pentagon said that his removal from the battlefield “would negatively impact” the ability of IS to recruit foreign fighters and conduct coordinated attacks.

The Pentagon called Shishani “a battle-tested leader with experience who had led [IS] fighters in numerous engagements in Iraq and Syria.” Last May, the State Department offered up to $5 million for information on his whereabouts.

He was known as “The Father of Meat because of his tendency to throw forces into battle willy-nilly,” the Pentagon said, including that he was charismatic and “well thought of.”

“There isn’t a second guy at his level to our knowledge who’s going to be able to step up and continue at the level that he was operating,” said Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the U.S. military’s counter-IS operation, on Wednesday. “So, it’s going to hurt them.”

His death reflects a continuation of the Obama administration’s strategy to take out IS leaders, otherwise called “high value individuals” (HVIs) — “drying up their bench.”

Warren explained the strategy, Wednesday, saying that “it’s a short career as a leader in ISIL…you won’t make it to retirement.”

“As we kill one, they’ll simply promote somebody up. We’ll kill them, they’ll promote somebody up. In some cases, we’ll kill them,” Warren said. “There have been cases where we’ve gone three deep in a position.”

Warren said that the U.S. has not yet witnessed the effects of Shishani‘s death on the battlefield.

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