No 2 of ISIS killed, says White House

White House confirms that second-in-command ISIS leader killed by US air strike

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Protesters carry defaced posters of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, left, and Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al Obeidi, right, as they chant slogans against the ISIS group during a protest at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq.

The White House National Security Council (NSC) spokesperson Ned Price said on a press release on Friday a deputy leader of ISIS was killed in a US air strike on Aug. 18 in Northern Iraq.

Second-in-command ISIS leader, Fadhil Ahmad al Hayali, also known as Haji Mutazz or Abu Muslim al Turkmani, killed while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul.

The killing of the deputy of ISIS occurred by a drone strike following a tip from an intelligence source, Reuters reported.

Hayali, the senior deputy was an “ISIL [ISIS] Shura Council member and, as the senior deputy to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, was a primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria,” says Price on press release.

Abu Abdullah, media operative of ISIS, also reportedly killed in the car along with Hayali.

Hayali was believed to have been killed in last year by a US air strike in Iraq.

He was in charge of ISIS operations in Iraq over the past two years and coordinated Mosul offensive in June 2014.

The dignitary of ISIS, Hayali, previously served as ISIS military emir both in Baghdad and Ninewa Province between 2001 and 2012.

The White House says on press release the death of the senior deputy of ISIS will blow ISIS’ operations since Hayali was spanning its finance, media and logistics.

Prominent role of Hayali came to light by captured documents during the operation a few days before the fall of Mosul after Iraqi forces raided the house of another ISIS top commander Abdulrahman al Bilawi, the Washington Post reported.

According to Iraqi intelligence officials, the death of Hayali will see even tighter security around Baghdadi, who mostly kept out of sight since he was allegedly wounded in an Iraqi air strike near the Syrian border.

A Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, said that Hayali was an Iraqi national and had been imprisoned in US-run Bucca prison camp.

"He admitted at this time, in 2005, to being a bookkeeper for al Qaeda in Iraq and involvement in weapons trafficking and support for extremist operations," Davis said.

A former Pentagon official now at the Rand Corporation Seth Jones said ISIS can set new operatives for resuming the position.

“My experience in looking at the Islamic State [ISIS] suggests they have demonstrated an ability to move people up into positions.”

Jones also said how much territory ISIS controls was more important in determining the group’s power. “The key issue is territorial control,” he said.

“Ultimately, [ISIS] is sufficiently well-led and structured that such a loss will not necessarily impact upon the organization's capacity to continue its pace of operations,” said Charles Lister to The Washington Post, an analyst from Brookings Doha Center.

The US-led Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) partners spent the past year –more than 6,000 air strikes conducted and killed around 10,000 ISIS militants in 2015 striking at ISIS militants, bases and machinery from the air which US President Barack Obama called to "degrade and destroy."

According to the CJTF statement, 23 air strikes in Iraq targeted ISIS in 10 cities, while 10 air strikes in Syria took aim at it in four cities on Thursday.

TRTWorld and agencies