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MOSCOW, September 8. /TASS/. Russian aircraft have delivered airstrikes near the Syrian city of Deir ez-Zor, destroying a militant command center and a communication hub, and eliminating four important field commanders, including IS "minister of war" Gulmurod Khalimov, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.
"As a result of a precision airstrike carried out by Russian warplanes near the city of Deir ez-Zor, a command center and a communication hub have been destroyed, while around 40 militants of the Islamic State terror group were killed," the statement reads.
"It has been confirmed that there are four important field commanders among the eliminated militants, including the so-called ‘Emir of Deir ez-Zor’ Abu Muhammad al-Shimali, who was responsible for financial affairs and the transfer of recruits to the IS training camps. It has also been established that the so-called ‘minister of war’ of the Islamic State terror group, Gulmurod Khalimov, was present at the meeting and died of fatal wounds," the Russian Defense Ministry added.
Khalimov was a former commander of the Tajik Interior Ministry’s special forces. In May 2015, together with six of his soldiers, he joined the IS. After Abu Omar al-Shishani was killed, Khalimov became the IS minister of war.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, on September 5, 2017, information was received through various sources that IS commanders were planning to hold a meeting at a disguised command center on the outskirts of Deir ez-Zor.
"Militant envoys and important field commanders planned to discuss the current situation and outline emergency measures to be taken given the Syrian government forces’ rapid offensive towards the city. After the information was confirmed and additional reconnaissance was carried out to better define the targets, two Russian warplanes - a Sukhoi Su-34 and a Sukhoi Su-35 - were scrambled from the Hmeimim air base, which delivered a precision airstrike dropping bunker-busting bombs," the Russian Defense Ministry said.