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article imageNo. 2 leader of ISIS killed in drone strike, U.S. officials say

By Nathan Salant     Aug 22, 2015 in World
Washington - One of the top leaders of feared Iraqi terrorist group Islamic State was killed Wednesday in a drone strike, U.S. officials acknowledged this week.
Haji Mutazz, the leader of ISIS operations in Iraq and a top military planner for the group, died Aug. 18 when the vehicle he was riding in was struck by a airborne explosive device near Mosul.
Mutazz, who was also known as Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, had previously but incorrectly been reported killed last year, according to Cable News Network (CNN).
"Al-Hayali's death will adversely impact ISIL's operations given that his influence spanned ISIL's finance, media, operations and logistics," said Ned Price, a spokesman for the U.S. National Security Council, using a U.S. government acronym for the group.
Information about the drone strike had previously been withheld by U.S. officials because of its sensitivity, CNN said.
One U.S. official told CNN that the drone strike was put together based on "actionable intelligence," suggesting that operatives have infiltrated ISIS' command structure to a previously unknown degree.
"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," Price said.
Another U.S. official said the drone strike that killed Mutazz happened near Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city that was overrun by militants more than a year ago.
Islamic State media spokesman Abu Abdullah also was in the car and presumed killed, officials said.
Mutazz was second-in-command to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and previously was a top commander of the Al-Qaida in Iraq terror group, CNN said.
The Islamic State group has overrun large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and stated its intention to set up a independent Islamic country in the region.
More about Isis, National Security Council, Nsc, Price, Iraq
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