Un helicóptero Apache estadounidense sobrevuela Tikrit, Irak, en 2003. (Imagen vía Stefan Zaklin/EPA)
A joint operation by Kurdish counter-terrorism forces and US special forces killed a senior Islamic State fighter in northern Iraq on Monday, Kurdish security forces said in a statement.Suleiman Abd Shabib al-Jabouri — whose name is sometimes translated as Salman Abu Shabib al-Jebouri — was a member of the Islamic State's military council, the statement said. He and two aides were killed just south of Mosul, which has been under IS occupation since June 2014. It was the second helicopter raid in two days by US and Kurdish commandos.
Jabouri was responsible for orchestrating offensives in Makhmour, just 30 miles (50 km) from Mosul, where efforts by the Iraqi army to reclaim territory have been repeatedly thwarted.On Sunday, troops from the US-led coalition landed a helicopter north of Mosul and seized at least one Islamic State member from a vehicle, witnesses and Kurdish security sources said.The force quickly took off again with their captive, the sources told Reuters."It all happened in less than 10 minutes," said a witness of the raid in Badush district, around 12 miles (20 km) northwest of Mosul. A mouthpiece for IS claimed that their militants had successfully foiled that raid.A spokesperson from the Pentagon was unable to confirm either raid with VICE News.The news from Kurdish security sources coincided with the arrival of US Defense Secretary Ash Carter in Baghdad on Monday. Carter will meet with Iraqi leaders to strategize ramped-up efforts to recapture Mosul, the largest Iraqi city still in the hands of IS, which the group is using as their de facto headquarters. Carter announced on Monday that the US will contribute AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and additional troops "to make sure the defeat of [the Islamic State] is lasting." The additional troops – 217 in total – will include military advisers and support for the Apaches.
Mosul is being occupied by approximately 5,000 Islamic State fighters, Operation Inherent Resolve's spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said on Monday.
The additional 217 troops will bring the overall number of US military forces in Iraq assisting the fight against the Islamic State to at least 4,087 – not including special operations forces, logistics personnel and temporary-duty troops.US special forces operating with Kurdish commandos rescued 69 Iraqis in an October raid in the northern city of Hawija in which one US soldier was killed.The operations are aimed at escalating pressure on Islamic State after the Iraqi army won its first major victory over the insurgents last December in Ramadi.Reuters reported that Iraqi officials privately doubt the possibility of retaking Mosul this year.Reuters contributed to this report.