US air strike kills ’ISIL number two’: White House
WASHINGTON - AFP
FILE - In this image made from video posted on a social media account affiliated with the Islamic State group on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, a militant topples an ancient artifact in the Ninevah Museum in Mosul, Iraq. AP Photo via militant social media accountThe second-in-command of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been killed in a US air strike in northern Iraq, the White House said Aug. 21.
The National Security Council identified the slain militant as Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Haji Mutaz, and said he was ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s senior deputy.
This is not the first time that US officials have announced Hayali’s death.
In December, US defense officials, speaking to reporters on condition of anonymity, said he was one of several senior figures killed in coalition strikes, giving another of his pseudonyms, Abu Muslim al-Turkmani.
But US forces now say they were able to kill him, along with an ISIL "media operative" known as Abu Abdullah, on August 18 in a strike on a vehicle near the city of Mosul.
The White House described Hayali as a member of ISIL's ruling council, and "a primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles and people between Iraq and Syria.
"He supported ISIL operations in both countries and was in charge of ISIL operations in Iraq, where he was instrumental in planning operations over the past two years, including the ISIL offensive in Mosul in June 2014," it said.
Like many senior Iraqi jihadists, before joining ISIL, Hayali had been a member of Al-Qaeda’s Iraqi faction.
He was reportedly a former Iraqi officer from the era of Saddam Hussein.