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US-led coalition says it killed Islamic State members targeting Saudi Arabia, West

Reuters , Tuesday 24 Jul 2018
US-led coalition
File photo: US-led coalition fighting Daesh said it killed nearly 150 militants in strikes in a Syrian middle Euphrates River Valley, Reuters

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State group said on Tuesday it has killed high-value leaders from the group who were planning attacks targeting Saudi Arabia, the United States and Sweden.

On April 24, a coalition air strike killed Syrian-based Islamic State member Munawwar al-Mutayari in Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition said in a statement. He had been planning attacks on Saudi Arabia.

Soufiane Makouh, a Belgian foreign fighter who travelled to Syria to plan attacks against the United States and its interests, was killed by an air strike on June 2.

The coalition said that on June 12 an air strike killed Simak, identified as an Islamic State intelligence officer linked to a cell plotting attacks in Sweden.

Reuters could not independently verify these planned attacks.

"With its conventional forces under heavy pressure in Syria, Daesh is desperately seeking to remain relevant through operations that threaten all the nations of the world," Brigadier General Brian Eifler, director of Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement.

Daesh is an Arabic acronym for Islamic State.

Islamic State, which once declared that it would create a caliphate, has suffered heavy losses in the Middle East but is still seen as a security threat.

Months after Iraq declared victory over Islamic State, its fighters are making a comeback with a scatter-gun campaign of kidnap and killing.

Numerous attempts to track down and kill Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi have failed, and his fighters are still active in Arab states.

In Syria, Islamic State still holds some territory but has suffered militarily. In Egypt, it is concentrated in the sparsely populated northern Sinai desert. It holds no territory but conducts hit-and-run attacks.

Islamic State has tried to rebuild in Libya through mobile units in the desert and sleeper cells in northern cities.

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