ISIS Confirms Second-in-Command Killed In U.S. Air Strike

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The Islamic State has confirmed the Pentagon’s August claim that it killed ISIS’ deputy commander, Abu Mutaz al-Qurashi.

“America is rejoicing over the killing of Abu Mutaz al-Qurashi and considers this a great victory,” a spokesman for the Islamic State named Abu Mohamed al-Adnani declared, in an audio recording posted to Islamist websites, as reported by AFP.  He did not detail the circumstances of Qurashi’s death.

The U.S. military has said he was riding a vehicle with another ISIS operative when the air strike killed him, Aug. 18, near the city of Mosul.

“I will not mourn him,” continued spokesman al-Adnani.  “He whose only wish was to die in the name of Allah… He has raised men and left behind heroes who, Allah willing, are yet to harm America.”

Qurashi, also known as Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayaii, was described by a White House official as a “member of the ISIS ruling council” and a “primary coordinator for moving large amounts of weapons, explosives, vehicles and people between Iraq and Syria.”

He was an operational commander for ISIS in Iraq, and played a role in the capture of Mosul.  AFP notes he was an officer in Saddam Hussein’s military, and then a member of al-Qaeda in Iraq, before joining ISIS.

His war-name, Abu Mutaz al-Qurashi, marks al-Hayaii claim to be a member of the Arab world’s most prestigious tribe or class, the Quraysh. In the current Arab world – and in Europe before Christianity – many people identify themselves as members of a tribe, aid their fellow tribe members, and seek protection from their tribe amid civil strife.

AFP notes Qurashi’s death was announced in the same audio message where ISIS called for jihad against Russia (and its fellow “crusader,” America.)  The same call for holy war has been issued by the Islamic State’s forerunners, and current rivals, in al-Qaeda.



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