A high-ranking, influential Islamic State foreign fighter linked to numerous attacks and plots in France may have been killed in a coalition airstrike.
“Coalition forces targeted Rachid Kassim, a senior ISIS operative near Mosul, in a strike in the past 72 hours,” Pentagon spokesman Major Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway said, using an acronym for the militant group. “We are currently assessing the results of that strike.”
Kassim traveled to Syria with his wife and three children in 2012 and has been tied to at least four plots to attack France since June 2016.
Among them was the murder of a French priest in Normandy, France, in June 2016 and the attempted attack on the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, when three French women parked a car filled with explosives nearby. The women were later arrested.
In an IS video from 2016, Kassim was shown beheading a captive and threatened French President Francois Hollande. He also called on French citizens to carry out attacks.
The strike targeting Kassim was first reported by French media.