Coalition forces killed two senior ISIS military commanders in airstrikes near Mosul, Iraq earlier this week, Defense Department spokesman Peter Cook said Friday.
Cook said the June 25 precision strikes killed Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari, ISIS’ deputy minister of war, and Hatim Talib al-Hamduni, an ISIS military commander in Mosul.
He described their deaths as “the latest in coalition efforts to systemically eliminate ISIL's cabinet wherever they hide, disrupting their ability to plot external terror attacks and hold onto the territory they use to claim legitimacy. “
He said Al-Bajari was “an experienced terrorist, a former member of Al Qaeda who brought his military skills into ISIL's terrorist network. He oversaw ISIL's June 2014 offensive to capture Mosul, and has also led the ISIL Jaysh al-Dabiq battalion known for using vehicle-borne IEDs, suicide bombers and mustard gas in its attacks.
“He used his military experience to consolidate ISIL's control over Mosul, where they have engaged in dictatorial rule and sectarian murder and oppression since 2014. Hatim Talib al-Hamduni was an ISIL military commander in Mosul and the head of military police for self-proclaimed Ninawa state.”
Cook said their deaths, along with strikes against other ISIS leaders in the past month, have critically degraded the group’s “leadership experience in Mosul and removed two of their most senior military members in northern Iraq.”
This week, American and Iraqi airstrikes in Iraq killed an estimated 250 ISIS fighters trying to flee Fallujah, located 40 miles west of Baghdad, while riding in 175 vehicles following the Islamic State's defeat there by Iraqi forces. The US military conducted nearly 300 airstrikes in Fallujah in support of the operation.
Fallujah was the first city in Iraq to fall to ISIS in January 2014.
The attacks came roughly 24 hours following suicide bombings at Istanbul's international airport which killed 44 and left the three attackers dead. While ISIS is suspected in the attack, they have not claimed responsibility.
Friday, ISIS claimed responsibility for taking roughly 20 hostages and killing two policemen in an attack on a popular restaurant in Bangladesh's capital city of Dhaka. The terrorist attack occurred in the city's diplomatic zone, a place frequented by foreigners.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report