The deputy leader of ISIS and other high-ranking officials have been killed by an airstrike in the Iraqi region of al-Qaim, according to local media.
Ayad al-Jumaili was understood to be second-in-command to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and head of the group’s internal security unit, which has carried out rapes, beatings, and public executions.
He was also a former member of the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein’s regime, before turning to the Islamic State.
Rudaw, the network of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, reported that al-Jumaili and two other ISIS officials —Turki Jamal al-Delaimi, head of a local ISIS base, and Salim Muthdafar al-Ajami, a senior administrator — were wiped out by an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition forces.
“His propaganda encouraged ISIS followers to conduct knife attacks, vehicle attacks, and arson attacks against American and other Western citizens,” Col. Joseph Scrocca, the coalition’s director of public affairs, confirmed during a press briefing.
“This strike will disrupt ISIS’s ability to create propaganda – propaganda to incite terror into the region as well as in our homeland, and has struck communications between other ISIS members,” he continued.
Earlier this month, a U.S. airstrike in Mosul destroyed a hotel used as an ISIS headquarters, while the group’s previous deputy leader and chief strategist, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, was killed last August by another airstrike in Aleppo.
The news is likely to further weaken the organization’s power in the region, with the majority of Mosul, a key battleground in the fight against ISIS, now liberated.
Meanwhile in Raqqa, Syria, ISIS leaders have been forced to leave the city as Kurdish militias, Turkish soldiers, and U.S. troops battle for its liberation.