Iraqi security forces said Islamic State leader Jassim al-Basri died in a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in Mosul as elite teams escalated the offensive to capture the city’s western industrial area on Monday.
Iraq’s military intelligence on Monday said “the terrorist Jassim al-Basri, known as Abu Mohamed, was killed in an airstrike by the international coalition.” Basri was the IS leader for Mosul’s Mesherfa and al-Haramat areas, Iraqi News reported.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry on Monday said at least 3,320 Islamic State militants have been killed since the offensive to capture west Mosul began in February. Mosul is a city split between eastern and western halves by the Tigris River.
The fight to capture west Mosul once again escalated on Monday as Iraq’s elite Counter Terrorism Service advanced into the city’s industrial area as well as in 17 other districts — all located in north and northwest of the west half of Mosul.
Iraqi Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool told Rudaw that Islamic State militants are “besieged” in the areas they control in Mosul.
Iraq launched its military offensive to retake western Mosul from the Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS, on Feb. 19. The offensive to retake Mosul began Oct. 17, led by Iraqi security forces and aided by the Kurdish Peshmerga, a Shiite-led militia, and the U.S.-led international coalition. Iraq fully captured east Mosul in late January.
The United Nation’s International Organization for Migration in Iraq said in late April that more than 331,000 people have been displaced from west Mosul since Feb. 25. About half a million Iraqis have been displaced since the Mosul offensive began in October.
Last week, Chief of Staff of the Iraqi Army Osman Ghanimi said the offensive to recapture west Mosul will be complete in about a month.
By Andrew V. Pestano