(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
BAGHDAD - Ayad al-Jumaili, believed to be a deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an air strike on Friday, an Iraqi intelligence spokesman said on Saturday.
The US-led anti-Islamic State coalition said it was unable at the moment to confirm the information that was reported earlier in the day by Iraqi state-run TV.
Jumaili was killed with other Islamic State commanders in a strike carried out by the Iraqi air force in the region of al-Qaim, near the border with Syria, a military intelligence spokesman told Reuters.
"The air force's planes executed with accuracy a strike on the headquarters of Daesh in al-Qaim .. resulting in the killing of Daesh's second-in-command...Ayad al-Jumaili, alias Abu Yahya, the war minister," state TV said earlier, citing a statement from the directorate of military intelligence.
Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, have been battling since October to retake the city of Mosul, Islamic State's last major stronghold in Iraq and the city where Baghdadi declared a caliphate nearly three years ago.
Nearly 290,000 people have fled the city to escape the fighting, according to the United Nations.