Russia said on Friday that its forces killed several top commanders of the Islamic State (IS) group in an air strike in Syria, including the so-called “emir” of Deir Ezzor and the “minister of war” who was trained by the US before joining IS.

“As a result of a precision air strike of the Russian air forces in the vicinity of Deir Ezzor city, a command post, communication centre and some 40 IS fighters have been killed,” the Russian defence ministry said.

“According to confirmed data, among the killed fighters are four influential field commanders including Deir Ezzor emir Abu Mohammed al-Shimali,” the ministry said.

Gulmurod Khalimov, a native of Tajikistan who is known as the IS group’s minister of war, suffered a “fatal injury,” the ministry added.

His death has been reported previously, including in an air attack in Mosul in April.


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