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Senior IS Leader Killed in Strike in Syria

FILE - Militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags in this undated photo in Raqqa, Syria. A senior leader of the group in Syria was killed during a U.S.-led coalition strike Sunday in the Badiyah Desert, according to a Pentagon spokesman.

The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State has targeted and killed a senior leader of the group in Syria who was linked to the murder of an American citizen.

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson told VOA on Monday that coalition forces killed Abu al-Umarayn and several other Islamic State members during a precision strike Sunday in the Badiyah Desert.

"Al-Umarayn had given indications of posing an imminent threat to Coalition Forces, and he was involved in the killing of American citizen and former U.S. Army Ranger, Peter Kassig," Robertson said in an emailed statement.

The terrorist was directly involved with executing several other IS prisoners.

IS currently controls just 1 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria. The U.S.-led coalition is still working with local partners to push the group out of its last stronghold in Syria's Deir el-Zour.