Islamic State No. 2 killed in US drone strike: White House

GlobalPost
Anti-war protesters displays an effigy of a attack drone as they take part in a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 19, 2011.
JEWEL SAMAD

The White House has confirmed that the Islamic State's second-in-command, Haji Mutazz, was killed in a US drone strike earlier this week. 

National Security Council spokesperson Ned Price confirmed that Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, was "killed in a US military air strike on Aug. 18 while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, along with an ISIL media operative known as Abu Abdullah," Reuters reports.

"Al-Hayali's death will adversely impact ISIL's operations given that his influence spanned ISIL's finance, media, operations, and logistics," Price said, referring to the group by an acronym.

Mutazz, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's deputy in Iraq, is believed to be high up among those who handle the Islamic State's finances. The White House also called him a "primary coordinator" for moving weapons, explosives, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria. 

US drones reportedly targeted a car on Tuesday, after being tipped off by an intelligence source. One official told CNN the strike was based on "actionable intelligence," meaning the Pentagon knew Mutazz was in the car.

If true, that would mean the US has significant intelligence capacity in areas like Mosul, where the Islamic State has a strong hold. 

This is not the first time Mutazz's death has been announced. Several news organizations, including CNN, announced that Mutazz was dead in December 2014, based on information from US officials.