— -- A senior ISIS operative and second in the terror group’s chain of command, Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, was killed in a U.S. military air strike Tuesday, the White House announced today.
Al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz, was traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, along with another ISIS operative known as Abu Abdullah when they were hit by a missile fired from a U.S. military aircraft, officials said.
U.S. officials had said in December that al-Hayali was one of three terrorists killed in a similar strike. Military officials acknowledged the error today and said they believe that the person killed in December may have gone by a similar name, but was not in fact the ISIS number two.
Al-Hayali was a senior deputy to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and responsible for moving weapons, explosives and vehicles between ISIS fighters in Iraq and Syria, National Security Council spokesman Ned Price said in a statement today. Price described him as “instrumental in planning operations over the past two years, including the ISIL offensive in Mosul in June 2014.”
ISIS is also known as ISIL or the Islamic State.
The number two terror leader was also a member of al-Qaeda in Iraq, a predecessor group to ISIS.
“Al-Hayali’s death will adversely impact ISIL’s operations given that his influence spanned ISIL’s finance, media, operations, and logistics,” Price said.
One month ago today, the Pentagon announced it killed a senior terrorist leader inside Syria, Muhsin al-Fadhli. Also killed in an air strike while traveling in a vehicle, Fadhli was considered a senior member of the Khorasan group, a terror organization with strong links to the Nusra front, a branch of al-Qaeda that operates inside Syria and Lebanon.