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Islamic State Leader Said Likely Killed In Air Strike Near Mosul

Rashid Kassim
Rashid Kassim

Officials say a militant suspected of inspiring several attacks in France was targeted by a coalition air strike near the Iraqi city of Mosul and likely was killed.

"We can confirm that coalition forces targeted Rashid Kassim, a senior [Islamic State] operative, near Mosul in a strike in the past 72 hours," Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway said on February 10, although he said he could not as yet confirm Kassim's death.

In Paris, a high-ranking official involved in counterterrorism operations told AFP there was not "absolute confirmation" of his death, but the probability is high.

Kassim, who is in his 30s, is believed to have inspired an attack last year in which a senior French policeman and his partner were stabbed to death and another in which an elderly priest's throat was cut.

He is suspected of using the encrypted Telegram app to direct attacks on France from IS-controlled territory in Iraq or Syria.

Originally from Roanne in the Loire Valley, Kassim has posted videos on the Internet praising attacks in France that have killed 238 people since 2015.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

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