The Pentagon has said on Friday (6 January) that a prominent Islamic State (Isis) leader was killed in a recent coalition air strike on Raqqa, Syria. The air strike was part of the US-led coalition forces' ongoing offensive, dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve, to free Iraq and Syria of IS (Daesh) rule.

The coalition said in a news release that they succeeded in eliminating Mahmud al-Isawi, a long-standing member of the jihadist group. Al-Isawi supported the militant group's media and intelligence structure in Fallujah before relocating to Raqqa, the release added.

The Isis leader also "controlled the flow of instructions and finances between Isil-held areas and Isil leaders, and provided support to propaganda and intelligence outlets," the coalition said, using another acronym for the jihadist group — the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

With al-Isawi's death, the coalition successfully eliminated 16 significant members of the militant group in 2016, it said in the release, noting these losses have "degraded Isil's trans-regional attack and facilitation network, and is forcing Isil to increase their focus on internal security".

The coalition said that al-Isawi had a close working and personal relationship with Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi, the emir of the Middle East attack network of IS. Al-Iraqi was also killed in a coalition air strike on 2 November, 2016.

On Thursday (5 January), Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said that the series of air strikes has weakened the IS as well as al-Qaeda operatives in Syria. He added that the strikes will continue, both in Syria and Iraq, as the ongoing offensives intensified.

Coalition air strike against Islamic State
US-led coalition force said Islamic State leader Mahmud al-Isawi was killed in an air strike on Syria's Raqqa on 31 December, 2016 - File photo Reuters/U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Joely Santiago/Handout