ISIL’s leader, al-Baghdadi, has himself had several brushes with death. Just last month, a senior leader was killed by a drone strike in Syria.
Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as the Hajji Mutaz, was killed while he was in a vehicle with another head of the jihadist organization, according to the Obama Administration.
Mutazz reportedly played a prominent role in directing ISIS’ financial operations.
Because of its sensitivity, the information about the drone strike this week is being very closely held. 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. His influence spanned from finances for the so-called Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, to media coordination to coordinating weapons and explosives movement.
He was traveling near Mosul, Iraq, Tuesday alongside another ISIS media coordinator, Abu Abdullah, when the U.S. military airstrike hit him. The White House issued a statement.
His death will have a real impact on ISIS operations knowing that his influence extended to finance, media, operations and logistics, said Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council. That information seems to have been based on wrong identification, a U.S. official told CNN.
A Defense official told WTOP in late July, the U.S.-led coalition was aggressively targeting ISIL’s leadership, but, “if we killed the leader of a particular province, he’d be replaced in 24 hours”. That type of information suggests the United States has some ability to target and strike some of the most senior officials in ISIS. U.S. Brig. Gen. Kevin Killea, chief of staff for the military operations in Iraq and Syria, says the field testing is not conclusive, so final tests are underway to get the full make-up of the chemicals on the fragments.