The three included a senior Islamic State leader and group’s two external operations planners –middle level commanders. The two are instrumental in Islamic Sate’s external operations network assigned tasks to plan attacks against the West and its interests abroad.
U.S. government identified the three Islamic State commanders as Abdullah Ahmed al Meshedani, Abdelilah Himich, and Basil Hassan.
1. Abdullah Ahmed al Meshedani, who is also known as Abu Qassim. He is a leader involved in managing arrival of foreign terrorist fighters in Syria. Handles where they are to stay, transport on behalf of the Islamic State.
State also noted that Meshedani is an “an advisor who reports to” Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the emir of the Islamic State.
2. Abdelilah Himich a Moroccan nationals also known as Abu Sulayman al Faransi. He is a senior foreign terrorist and external operations figure in Islamic States leadership. He is believed to be the one who planned and coordinated in Paris, France in November 2015 and Brussels, Belgium in March 2016.
Himich is also the figure behind the formation of Tariq Ibn Ziyad Battalion which is a European foreign terrorist fighter cell that has provided operatives for ISIL attacks in Iraq, Syria, and abroad.
3. Basil Hassan is described as “an external operations plotter. Believed to have shot Lars Hedegaard, a 70-year old Danish author and journalist” in 2013. Hedegaard was a vocal critic of Islam. Hassan fled Denmark undetected but was arrested by Turkish police in 2014. Turkey freed him as part of prisoner exchenge with Islamic State terrorist group, we crossed over to Syria.
U.S. has been targeting senior Islamic State’s operatives. In October, U.S. Secretary for Defense Ash Carter said targeting the Islamic State’s external operations network has become U.S. highest priority.
U.S. military has killed four senior members of the external operations network in the past year; killed Abd al Rahman Mustafa al Qaduli, killed Abu Isa Al Amriki, Abu Muhammad al Adnani and killed Abd al-Basit al-Iraqi.