Islamic State (Isis) deputy Ayad al-Jumaili, said to be second-in-command to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was reportedly killed on Friday, (31 March), a spokesperson for Iraqi intelligence said on Saturday.
Jumaili was killed along with other Isis commanders in an air raid conducted by the Iraqi air force in al-Qaim in western Anbar province, near the border with Syria, Brigadier General Yahya Rasool of Iraq's Joint Operation Command said, citing military intelligence.
"The air force's planes executed with accuracy a strike on the headquarters of Daesh in al-Qaim...resulting in the killing of Daesh's second-in-command...Ayad al-Jumaili, alias Abu Yahya, the war minister," state TV said, quoting a statement from the military intelligence directorate.
Isis director of administrative affairs, Salem Mudfara al-Ajmi, also called Abu Khatab, was said to have been taken down in the strike, and no date of the operation was provided, NBC News reported.
The US-led coalition against Isis said it could not confirm the Iraqi military's information.
According to experts, Jumaili led the militant group's security agency in Syria and Iraq known as Amniya and he reported directly to Baghdadi.
Iraqi and US officials reportedly believe that Baghdadi left operational commanders to fight the battle for Mosul and he is hiding in the desert with senior commanders.
The Pentagon in September had confirmed that another Isis second-in-command, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, was killed in a US air raid. Isis claimed earlier that al-Adnani was killed in an air strike in August in Syria's al-Bab.
You may be interested in:
- Even if Isis is defeated in Syria and Iraq, its foreign reach has taken on a life of its own
- Pentagon contradicts Russia's claim of killing Isis strategist, says Abu al-Adnani slain in US attack
- Isis news agency says second-in-command Abu Muhammad al-Adnani killed in Aleppo
- Ayad al-Jumaili, deputy to Isis leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, killed in Iraq