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ISIS Chemical Weapons Expert Killed In Airstrike

Abu Malik worked in one of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons facilities before joining ISIS.

Last updated on January 30, 2015, at 6:22 p.m. ET

Posted on January 30, 2015, at 6:08 p.m. ET

Stringer/Iraq / Reuters

Smoke rises during clashes between Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and ISIS militants, on the outskirts of Mosul on Jan. 21.

An ISIS chemical weapons expert who used to work for Saddam Hussein was killed last weekend during a coalition airstrike.

Abu Malik died Jan. 24 near Mosul, according to a statement released by U.S. Central Command Friday. In the past, Malik had worked at one of Hussein's chemical weapons facilities. He joined al-Qaeda in 2005, then later became a member of ISIS.

According to the statement, his background provided ISIS "with expertise to pursue a chemical weapons capability." His death should "temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people."

Mosul remains a hotly contested city in northern Iraq; last year, ISIS fighters seized the city during an aggressive push to control new territory. Earlier this month, however, Kurdish forces fired rockets into Mosul. It was the first move of its kind since ISIS took over.

The U.S. and Iraq also are preparing for an offensive to take back Mosul. The offensive could happen this summer, Reuters reported.

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Read the full Central Command statement:

ISIL terrorist Abu Malik was killed Jan. 24 in a coalition airstrike in the vicinity of Mosul, Iraq.

Malik was an ISIL chemical weapons engineer who worked at Saddam Hussein's Muthana chemical weapon production facility before affiliating with al Qaeda Iraq in 2005. He later joined ISIL and his past training and experience provided the terrorist group with expertise to
pursue a chemical weapons capability. His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people.

Coalition airstrikes continue to target ISIL terrorists, using manned and unmanned aircraft to conduct airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. This airstrike was conducted in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to degrade and defeat the terrorist group ISIL and the threat they pose to the region and the wider international community.

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