August 21, 2015
by VOA News
U.S. officials say the number two leader of the Islamic State group has been killed in a drone strike in Iraq.
A National Security Council spokesman said Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, was killed in an airstrike on August 18 while traveling near the Iraqi city of Mosul, which fell into IS hands last year. Spokesman Ned Price said the strike also killed an IS media operative known as Abu Abdullah.
The NSC statement identified al-Hayali as a member of the extremist group's Shura Council and the senior deputy to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. It said he was a primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles and people between Iraq and Syria.
"Al-Hayali’s death will adversely impact ISIL’s operations given that his influence spanned ISIL’s finance, media, operations, and logistics," said the statement, using an acronym for IS preferred by the U.S. government. The statement said al-Hayali supported IS operations in both Syria and Iraq and was in charge of the group's operations in Iraq.
This is not the first time that al-Hayali has been reported dead. His death was also reported by the Pentagon late last year but an official said Friday it appears the U.S. had a wrong identification at the time.
The NSC statement said the United States 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."