A airstrike has taken out the Islamic State’s second in command, the White House confirmed in a statement on Friday. The strike on Fadhil Ahmad Al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, occurred while he was traveling in a vehicle near Mosul in Northern Iraq on Tuesday.
Al-Hayali was an “ISIL Shura Council member and, as the senior deputy to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was a primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria,” said White House NSC spokesman Ned Price.
“Al-Hayali’s death will adversely impact ISIL’s operations given that his influence spanned ISIL’s finance, media, operations, and logistics,” Price added.
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Charles Lister, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Doha Center, told the Wall Street Journal that Al-Hayali’s killing indicates the U.S. may have gained significant intelligence gathering capability regarding ISIS. “The killing by itself suggests the U.S. has acquired a top-level source of intelligence capable of providing insight into and infiltrating the uppermost ranks of what is a highly secretive and well protected organization,” he said.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
A raid in Syria earlier this year to capture Islamic State’s finance chief Abu Sayyaf and his wife yielded what officials described as a treasure trove of materials that shed valuable information on the organization, U.S. officials have said. The finance chief was killed in the operation and his wife was in U.S. custody in Erbil until the U.S. turned her over to the Iraqi Kurds earlier this month.
“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,” said NSC spokesman Price.