An Islamic State extremist group leader responsible for recruiting French-speaking militants was targeted and possibly killed by coalition forces in Iraq, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed Friday.
Rachid Kassim was targeted by coalition forces in the Mosul area sometime over the past few days by U.S.-led coalition forces, according to Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command. He couldn’t confirm the militant was killed.
Mr. Kassim has long been known to authorities as a potent recruiter for Islamic State among French-speaking militants, and was at the center of an effort to radicalize militants in Europe leading to successful attacks in France.
Using the encrypted chat application Telegram, Mr. Kassim provided militants in Europe with instructions on how to build bombs using common items such as cooking containers.
Authorities gathered as much evidence from his digital footprint as possible to demonstrate his responsibility for inciting extremist attacks. He has said on Telegram and social media that neither he nor Islamic State is responsible for such attacks, saying instead that the faith of attackers is the impetus.
Authorities found Mr. Kassim maintained a well-crafted methodology on social media, first recruiting people on public forums and then telling potential attackers to connect with him on encrypted channels to have further discussions about plotting. On unencrypted channels, Mr. Kassim often used evasive language when speaking with followers to hint at prospective efforts, and goad them into action.