Islamic State No. 2 leader killed in airstrike: US

Washington, Aug 22 (IANS/EFE) The White House said on Friday that the No. 2 leader of the Islamic State militant group died in a US airstrike.

“Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz… was killed in a US military air strike on August 18 while travelling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq,” White House spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Al-Hayali was the second-in-command of the IS and also one of the coordinators in moving great quantities of “weapons, explosives, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria”.

According to the White House, the jihadist leader was travelling by road near Mosul when he was killed by an airstrike together with another insurgent, an IS media operative identified as Abu Abdullah.

A senior member of the Shura Council and a deputy of IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Hayali was in charge of the group’s operations both in Iraq and in Syria, according to Price.

Furthermore, this former Iraqi official and ex-member of Al Qaeda in Iraq was “instrumental” in planning operations over the past two years, including the offensive that allowed IS to take control of Mosul in June 2014.

The White House said that al-Hayali’s death will adversely impact IS’s operations, given that his influence spanned the group’s “finance, media, operations and logistics”.

“The US and its coalition partners are determined to degrade and destroy this terrorist group which has wrought so much harm and suffering on the people of the region and beyond,” the spokesman said.

A US-led international coalition launched, in mid-2014, the campaign of airstrikes against IS positions in Iraq and Syria.

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