A screen grab of Rachid Kassim taken from an Islamic State group propaganda video dating back to July 2016. Welayat Nineveh, AFP
L.A. Times: The U.S. military is targeting Islamic State's virtual caliphate by hunting & killing its online operatives one-by-one
The months-long manhunt for French-born Rachid Kassim ended one chilly morning early this year when a drone-launched missile destroyed his battered white pickup truck as it motored through the besieged Iraqi city of Mosul.
The 29-year-old former rapper had cast a grim shadow in international counter-terrorism circles. He spoke fluent French, once beheaded a man in an online video and played a role in a string of terrorist plots — two successful — in France last year.
The Feb. 8 drone strike notched a victory for a U.S.-led effort that seeks to silence Islamic State operatives who use social media, encrypted messaging and other online tools to reach disaffected Muslims overseas and to launch what counter-terrorism experts now call “remote-controlled” attacks.
As Islamic State steadily loses ground in Iraq and Syria, its ability to sponsor and inspire headline-grabbing attacks abroad looms larger than ever — providing the militants the appearance of lethal viability despite the caliphate’s collapsing borders.
Read more ....
WNU Editor: The war against the message and ideology of the Islamic State is going to be just as bloody and just as long as the war against the on-the-ground fighters of this group and those who espouse a radical and militant brand of Islam.