The second-in-command of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group was killed during a US air strike in Iraq on Tuesday, according to the White House.
The US and its allies stage daily air strikes on ISIL targets in the group’s self-declared caliphate based in Iraq and Syria.
A drone strike last month killed a senior leader in its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa.
“Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz … was killed in a US military air strike on August 18 while travelling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, along with an ISIL media operative known as Abu Abdullah,” Ned Price, White House spokesman, said in a statement.
“His death will adversely impact ISIL’s operations given that his influence spanned ISIL’s finance, media, operations, and logistics.”
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Washington DC, Joshua Walker, a former adviser to the US State Department and a Nonresident Rransatlantic Fellow at the German Mashall Fund of the United States, said: “Nobody knows how many deputies there are.
“There’s only one top man [Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi and he’s got a price on his head.”
The White House said Hayali was a “primary coordinator” for moving weapons, explosives, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria.
He was in charge of operations in Iraq and helped plan the group’s offensive in Mosul in June of last year, the White House said.
Mutazz was a lieutenant-colonel in the army of deposed leader Saddam Hussein and, like many who later went on to form the core of ISIL’s leadership, was detained by US troops in Iraq at the Camp Bucca detention facility, according to US counterrorism experts.