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ISIS Chemical Weapons Expert Killed By Airstrike In Iraq: U.S.

MOSUL, IRAQ - JANUARY 21: Air attacks are staged by coalition forces to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants
MOSUL, IRAQ - JANUARY 21: Air attacks are staged by coalition forces to Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants in Mawara town of Mosul, Iraq on January 21, 2015. Peshmerga forces continue to proceed in Mosul at helm of General Mansour Barzani, Peshmerga Special Forces Commander. Coalition forces give military support to Peshmerga. (Photo by Emrah Yorulmaz/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, Jan 30 (Reuters) - An Islamic State chemical weapons expert was killed in a coalition airstrike last week near Mosul, Iraq, the U.S. Central Command said in a statement on Friday.

Abu Malik, who was killed Jan. 24, had been a chemical weapons engineer during the rule of Saddam Hussein and then affiliated himself with al Qaeda Iraq in 2005, Central Command said. When he joined Islamic State, also known as ISIL, it gave the insurgent force a chemical weapons capability, the statement said.

"His death is expected to temporarily degrade and disrupt the terrorist network and diminish ISIL's ability to potentially produce and use chemical weapons against innocent people," the statement said. (Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Eric Beech)

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