The Pentagon says a U.S.-led coalition air strike near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul killed two senior military leaders of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) on Friday.

The two leaders were the group’s deputy minister of war, Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari and a senior military commander, Hatim Talib al-Hamduni.

U.S.-led air strikes have been of immense help to Iraqi forces and their allies as they’ve assisted in pushing IS back. An offensive to retake Mosul is seen as the next battle for Iraqi forces.

The BBC reports that al-Bajari was a former al-Qaeda member who also led an IS battalion known for using homemade explosives, suicide bombers and mustard gas in its attacks.

Pentagon said in its statement that al-Hamduni was a military commander in Mosul and the head of military police in the region.

“Their deaths, along with strikes against other ISIL leaders in the past month, have critically degraded ISIL’s leadership experience in Mosul and removed two of their most senior military members in northern Iraq,’’ it added.

The jihadist ISIS burst on to the international scene in 2014 when it seized large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq.

Since then it has become notorious for its brutality, including mass killings, abductions and beheading.

Author: Ope Adedeji