Isis deputy leader 'killed in air strike' by Iraqi forces

Shehab Khan

Isis' deputy leader has reportedly been killed by an air strike in western Iraq.

Ayad al-Jumaili was hit by the country's air force near the region of al-Qaim near the Syrian border, Iraqi state TV reported, although no dates or details were provided about the raid.

It said he was known by the alias "Abu Yahya, the war minister."

The US led anti-Islamic State coalition said it was unable to confirm the report.

Al-Jumaili was reportedly the head of the group’s internal security unit which has carried out public beheading, beatings and rape. It answered to the group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Before joining the extremist groups, he served as an intelligence officer in the Iraqi army until 2003 when Saddam Hussein's regime was overthrown.

The strike is part of Iraqi forces extensive effort to retake the city of Mosul, Islamic State's stronghold in Iraq.

US and Iraqi officials believe Baghdadi has left operational commanders with diehard followers to fight the battle of Mosul, and is now hiding out in the desert with senior commanders.

A separate battle is in preparation in Syria to drive Islamic State from its stronghold there, the city of Raqqa.