“Several hours ago we killed an ISIL member believed responsible for the rocket attack that resulted in the death of (Staff Sgt. Louis) Cardin. Jasim Khadijah was an ISIL member and former Iraqi officer believed directly connected to the recent rocket attack that killed Cardin and wounded eight other Marines,” Col. Steve Warren, a spokesman for the anti-ISIS coalition, said using a different acronym for ISIS.
He also said 5 other ISIS fighters were killed in the strike.
Separately, a U.S. official told CNN this was a drone strike and that Khadijah was not considered a high-value target but rather a local leader. The official said the U.S. picked up intelligence that Khadijah directed the rocket forces against the Marines.
Cardin was killed after the fire base he was stationed at in northern Iraq, near Makhmour, came under fire on March 19.
The existence of the base, which had a couple of hundred Marines, had not been made public before the attack. ISIS is believed to have observed the Marines moving into the area and saw them firing practice rounds, a U.S. official told CNN at the time. ISIS fired two rockets. One fell inside the base killing Cardin.
The Marines initially named the location “Fire Base Bell.” Last week the base was quietly re-named — with no public announcement. It is now called the “Kara Soar Counter Fire Complex.”
The change is to make clear the base is only conducting defensive missions, one defense official told CNN.
A fire base is generally defined as a small military area where troops fire artillery in support of advancing troops. But defense officials have repeatedly told CNN the artillery guns at the base are firing both defensive shells against ISIS attacks and planning to fire in support of Iraqi forces conducting offensive operations.
The base has come under repeated ISIS assault since the first attack.