Iraqi State TV Says Islamic State’s Second-In-Command Has Been Killed

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BAGHDAD, April 1 (Reuters) – Ayad al-Jumaili, the man believed to be the deputy of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has been killed in an air strike, Iraqi State TV said on Saturday, citing Iraqi military intelligence.

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, the channel said, without giving the date of the raid.

The TV described Jumaili as Islamic State?s ?second-in-command? and ?war minister.?

The spokesman of the U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition could not immediately be reached for comment.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have been battling to retake the city of Mosul, Islamic State?s stronghold in Iraq and the city where Baghdadi declared a caliphate nearly three years ago.

Tense of thousands of refugees have been fleeing the city to escape the fighting.

It is unclear whether Baghdadi is still there. But U.S. and Iraqi officials believe he has left operational commanders behind with diehard followers to fight the battle of Mosul, and is now hiding out in the desert

A separate battle is in preparation in Syria to drive Islamic State from its stronghold there, the city of Raqaa.

 

(Reporting by Maher Chmaytelli Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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