Isis second-in-command killed in US strike in Iraq, White House confirms

Reports say Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali was killed on Tuesday

Click to follow
The Independent Online

In a significant boost to the efforts of the United States and its allies to destabilise and weaken the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, the White House confirmed tonight that its second-in-command was killed on Tuesday in a US military air strike.

National Security Council spokesman Ned Price says Mr Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, was traveling in a vehicle near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul when he was killed Tuesday. 

As the senior deputy to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Mr Hayali was the primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles and people between Iraq and Syria.

"Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz ... was killed in a US military air strike on August 18 while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq," Mr Price said in a statement, using the alternative acronym for Isis forces.

“Al-Hayali's death will adversely impact ISIL's operations given that his influence spanned ISIL's finance, media, operations, and logistics.”

Al-Hayali was deputy to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of Islamic State, the self-declared caliphate that spans large swathes of Syria and Iraq.  He was said to be the group’s primary commander for moving large quantities of weapons, explosives, vehicles and people between the two countries.

Mr Price, speaking on the island of Martha’s Vinyeard, where President Barack Obama is still on his summer holiday, characterised the strike as an important setback for Isis. 

It brings the US and its allies a sliver of good news in a campaign against Isis that has been slow-going. Also killed in the attack was an Isis media operative known as Abu Abudullah, officials said.