Sat Jan 9, 2016 6:50PM
A file photo of an Iraqi fighter jet
A file photo of an Iraqi fighter jet

Iraq’s military says a major commander of the Daesh Takfiri terrorists has been killed during an operation by the country's Air Force against the militant group west of the country.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday that its fighter jets had managed to target the whereabouts of Asi Ali Mohammad Nasir al-Obaidi in the town of Barwanah in the western province of Anbar.

The statement said Obaidi was the second deputy to the self-proclaimed Daesh leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, meaning that he was the third in command of the Takfiri group.

It said Obaidi had escaped Abu Ghraib, a notorious prison facility once run by the United States forces west of the capital, Baghdad. A picture of Obaidi was also circulated in the Iraqi media.

The death of the notorious commander comes days after the Iraqi military and volunteer fighters managed to liberate the central districts of Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi in a major blow to the terrorists.

Sporadic clashes still continue in Ramadi and other parts of Anbar; however, Iraqi forces say they have purged Daesh militants from their key positions.

Over the past few months, Iraqi warplanes have also managed to carry out successful combat sorties against Daesh positions in the northern province of Nineveh.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi vowed after the liberation of Ramadi that his forces will definitely push back Daesh from the positions it controls in Iraq in 2016, including from its major bastion in Nineveh’s capital, Mosul.

He also praised the air force for carrying out successful airstrikes against militants, saying the Iraqi warplanes conduct more than 60 percent of the sorties against Daesh, more than the share of a US-led coalition claiming to fight the group in the Arab country.