The second-in-command of the Islamic State group Ayad al-Jumaili was killed in an airstrike near the Syrian border in Iraq on Friday, according to local reports. Jumaili was killed along with other commanders of the extremist group in an Iraqi Air Force strike in the al Qaim region, a military intelligence spokesperson told Reuters on Saturday.
“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,” Iraqi state-run TV had reported earlier, citing a statement from the directorate of military intelligence.
However, the United States-led coalition that is fighting the Islamic State group has been unable to confirm Jumaili’s death. The coalition has been backing Iraqi troops since October 2016 in their battle to seize Mosul, which is the Islamic State’s last major stronghold in Iraq.
Jumaili was an intelligence officer in the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, before his presidency was brought to an end by the US-led invasion in 2003. Experts believe Jumaili reported directly to Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and led the outfit’s top security agency – Amniya – in Iraq and Syria.