BY RAFAEL SANCHEZ-BAYO
Islamic State’s second in command has been killed by a US-led airstrike in northern Iraq according to Iraqi officials. The leader, known as Abu Alaa al-Afari, was killed near the city of Tal Afar
The airstrike occurred near Tal Afar, where the US military were conducting airstrikes on Tuesday and Wednesday. Abu Alaa al-Afari was killed at a mosque where the second in command was meeting militants.
However, US Central Command, who are overseeing the war against Islamic State, said it had “no information to corroborate these claims,” And confirmed that, “coalition aircraft did not strike a mosque.”
Iraq’s Ministry of Defence posted a video on its website purportedly showing the airstrike. It did not say when the strike occurred, but according to the Associated Press it was on Tuesday.
Al-Afari, whose real name is Abdul Rahman Mustafa Mohammed, was said to have been the deputy to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who was reportedly injured in an airstrike in March. British newspapers reported that al-Baghdadi was incapacitated and gave his leadership role to al-Afari.
On Wednesday, a spokesman for Iraq’s Ministry of Defence said that the best intelligence he had seen suggested that al-Baghdadi was injured but was not incapacitated.
Al-Afari was recently added to a US government list offering rewards for information leading to the death or capture of the top leaders of IS.