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Paris attack planners among 3 ISIS fighters killed in drone strike, Pentagon says

Drone hit target in Raqqa, Syria

 

A U.S.-led coalition drone strike in Raqqa, Syria, killed three Islamic State fighters, two of whom helped facilitate the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris, the Pentagon announced on Tuesday.

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The third fighter killed on December 4 was involved in a foiled suicide attack plot targeting Europe in 2015, U.S. officials said. A Belgian court had convicted him in absentia.

"The three were working together to plot and facilitate attacks against Western targets at the time of the strike," Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook told reporters. He said the fighters were involved in a terror network led by Boubaker Al-Hakim, who was killed in a coalition airstrike last month.

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The U.S.-led coalition has conducted more than 300 airstrikesaround Raqqa in the past month.

A drone conducted last week's airstrike, a U.S. defense official confirmed to Fox News. A senior military official said just last week the coalition has killed 50,000 ISIS fighters in the past two years.

Cook identified the Paris attack facilitators as Salah Gourmat and Sammy Djedou, and said the third fighter was Walid Hamman.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter first announced the killings during an address Tuesday to U.S. airmen at a military base in Italy.

Cook said the two involved in the Paris attacks were close associates of ISIS external operations leader Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, who was killed in August. The Paris massacre killed 130 people and has left Europe on edge for months.

"Since mid-November, the coalition has now successfully targeted five top ISIL external plotters, further disrupting ISIL's ability to carry out terrorist operations beyond Syria and Iraq," Cook added.

Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.