White House: ISIS No. 2 killed by US strike

Hajji Mutazz, the Islamic State's second in command, was killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, the White House confirmed Friday.

Mutazz was killed in the Aug. 18 strike while traveling in a vehicle near Mosul, Iraq, the White House said. Also killed was an ISIS media operative known as Abu Abdullah.

Mutazz, also known as Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, was senior deputy to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and a primary coordinator for moving weapons, vehicles and explosives between Iraq and Syria. Mutazz was instrumental in a number of military operations, including the ISIS offensive in Mosul in June 2014.

“Al-Hayali's death will adversely impact ISIL's operations given that his influence spanned ISIL's finance, media, operations, and logistics,” the White House statement said.

“The United States and its coalition partners are determined to degrade and destroy this terrorist group which has wrought so much harm and suffering on the people of the region and beyond,” the statement said.

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    Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said late Friday that Mutazz was an Iraqi national.

    He said Mutazz was detained by U.S. forces in early 2005 in Iraq due to his “involvement with Al Qaeda and transferred to the Iraqi government."

    "He admitted to being a book keeper for Al Qaeda in Iraq and involved in weapons trafficking and support for extremist operations,” Davis said.

    One expert told Reuters that the impact of Mutazz's death could be short-lived.

    "My experience in looking at the Islamic State suggests they have demonstrated...an ability to move people up into positions" after the death of key officials, Seth Jones, a former Pentagon official, told the news agency.

    Fox News' Lucas Tomlinson and Lesa Jansen contributed to this report.