US maintains hit list of two dozen ISIS operatives: report
Washington: The US is maintaining a hit list of about two dozen top
Islamic State operatives in Iraq and Syria with the terror group's leader Abu
Bakr al-Baghdadi being the number one target, according to a media report.
The list essentially amounts to a 'kill list', since the US
has no troops on the ground in Iraq or Syria to capture Islamic State of Iraq
and Syria (ISIS) suspects. The No. 1 target on the list is al-Baghdadi, the
leader of ISIS, a senior US official was quoted as saying by CNN.
Another US official was quoted as saying that al-Baghdadi is
well-aware the United States is hunting him, so the belief is he is staying out
It has been months since the last intelligence report about
where al-Baghdadi is hiding, a senior US official said.
The United States believes al-Baghdadi knows warplanes are
hunting him, so he moves cautiously -- even as his influence has grown beyond
Syria and Iraq, the report said.
The United States has already killed a dozen or so ISIS
operatives on the list, including an ISIS chemical weapons expert, the senior
official said. But others are added to the list as intelligence is gained about
their role in ISIS.
The official strongly emphasised that the command-and-
control structure of ISIS remains murky and more intelligence is needed about
the identity of top operatives. ISIS executioners such as the so-called 'Jihadi
John' are still in the US crosshairs -- but the list focuses on targeting those
whose death would broadly hurt ISIS.
The kill list may now expand as the United States struggles
to understand an ISIS command structure made more confusing by the growth of
ISIS adherents in Egypt, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya, the report