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

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