22 Aug 2015

Islamic State deputy killed in air strike - US

9:25 am on 22 August 2015

A deputy leader of Islamic State (IS), Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, has been killed in a US military strike in northern Iraq, the White House says.

An Islamic State flag on a hill by Kobane - another was on a building on the eastern side of the Syrian border  town.

Photo: AFP

Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, is described by US officials as the second in command of the group.

They said he was killed in an attack on his car in Mosul on Tuesday, and that his death would damage IS operations.

A number of IS leaders have been taken out by US-led air coalition strikes in both Iraq and Syria in recent months.

'Wide influence'

Hayali was a primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles and people between Iraq and Syria, the US National Security Council's Ned Price said in a statement.

In Iraq, Hayali was "instrumental in planning operations over the past two years, including the IS offensive in Mosul in June 2014", Mr Price said.

He is described as "the senior deputy" to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was reportedly seriously injured in another air strike by the US-led coalition in March this year.

"Hayali's death will adversely impact IS's operations given that his influence spanned IS's finance, media, operations, and logistics," Mr Price added.

A second IS member who coordinated media, known as Abu Abdullah, was killed in the same air strike as Hayali.

It comes several months after Iraqi defence officials declared another "IS second-in-command", Abdul Rahman Mustafa Mohammed, dead in an air strike in northern Iraq.

Mohammed, also known as Abu Alaa al-Afari, was killed inside a mosque hit by a strike in Tal Afar in May, they reported.

At the time, there were unconfirmed reports Afari had taken temporary charge of IS operations amid reports IS leader Baghdadi had become incapacitated.

In June this year, the US reported that more than 10,000 IS fighters had been killed since the international coalition began its campaign against the group last summer.

-BBC

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