U.S.-Led Coalition Destroys Syrian Mosque Used as IS Command Center

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -

The U.S.-led coalition in Syria destroyed on Saturday a mosque in the town of Hajin which had been used as an Islamic State command and control center, the U.S. military said.

Hajin is the last big town that the Islamic State holds in its remaining enclave east of the Euphrates River. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, spearheaded by the Kurdish militia, have battled to eliminate the jihadists there for several months.

The U.S. coalition said that 16 heavily armed IS terrorists were using the mosque as a base to attack. “This strike killed these terrorists who presented an imminent threat, and eliminated another deadly ISIS [Islamic State] operational capability from the battlefield,” the U.S. military said in a statement.

Lilwa al-Abdallah, spokeswoman for the offensive in eastern Deir al-Zor province, said on Friday that the coalition would soon retake Hajin.

Islamic State lost nearly all the territory it once held in Syria last year in separate offensives by the U.S.-backed SDF on the one hand, and the Russian-backed Syrian army on the other.