A U.S.-led coalition airstrike killed two top Islamic State military commanders last week near Mosul, the Pentagon announced Friday.
They include a deputy minister of war who led Islamic State's capture of the Iraqi city in 2014.
"Removing these terrorist leaders from the battlefield shapes the environment for Iraqi forces to ultimately liberate Mosul with support from the international coalition," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
Those killed were Islamic State deputy war minister Basim Muhammad Ahmad Sultan al-Bajari and military commander Hatim Talib al-Hamduni.
After freeing the city of Fallujah from Islamic State, Iraqi forces are now turning their attention to Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city.
Iraqi military leaders say they hope to liberate Mosul by the end of the year, but the Pentagon believes it may take longer.