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'Islamic State' confirms number two Hajji Mutazz killed

"IS" jihadists have released a statement confirming the death of the group's second in command Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz. He was killed in an August airstrike, according to the White House.

Hayali was a close associate of the "Islamic State" (IS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and in charge of moving weapons, vehicles, and people between Iraq and Syria.

"America is rejoicing over the killing of [Hayali] and considers this a great victory," IS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani said on Tuesday in an audio recording posted on jihadist websites.

"I will not mourn him... he whose only wish was to die in the name of Allah... he has raised men and left behind heroes who, God willing, are yet to harm America," he added.

IS, however, did not give details on al-Hayali's death.

In August this year, the White House announced that the

jihadists died in a US airstrike.

"Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, also known as Hajji Mutazz ... was killed in a US military airstrike on August 18 while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, along with an ISIL media operative known as Abu Abdullah," the US authorities said.

The US described Hayali as a member of the IS ruling council with influence in finance, media, operations, and logistics.

Hayali was reportedly a former Iraqi officer from the Saddam Hussein era, before joining al Qaeda in Iraq. Along with many high-profile jihadists, he later moved from al Qaeda

to the IS

, where he became a senior deputy of the group's chief Baghdadi.

The deceased militant "was in charge of ISIL operations in Iraq, where he was instrumental in planning operations over the past two years, including the ISIL offensive in Mosul in June 2014," the White House said in August, using another name for the IS.

dj/bk (AFP, Reuters)

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