The U.S.-led anti-Islamic State coalition
said it was unable at the moment to confirm
the information that was reported earlier in
the day by Iraqi state-run TV.
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, a military
intelligence spokesman told Reuters.
"The air force's planes executed with
accuracy a strike on the headquarters of
Daesh in al-Qaim .. resulting in the killing
of Daesh's second-in-command...Ayad al-Jumaili,
alias Abu Yahya, the war minister," state TV
said earlier, citing a statement from the
directorate of military intelligence.
Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led
coalition, have been battling since October
to retake the city of Mosul, Islamic State's
last major stronghold in Iraq and the city
where Baghdadi declared a caliphate nearly
three years ago.
Nearly 290,000 people have fled the city
to escape the fighting, according to the
FORMER SADDAM OFFICIAL
U.S. and Iraqi officials believe Baghdadi
has left operational commanders with diehard
followers to fight the battle of Mosul, and
is now hiding out in the desert with senior
A separate battle is in preparation in
Syria to drive Islamic State from its
stronghold there, the city of Raqqa.
The Iraqi state TV report is the first by
an official media to announce the death of
Jumaili, who was an intelligence officer
under Saddam Hussein, the Iraqi president
toppled in the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Jumaili led Islamic State's top security
agency in Iraq and Syria, known as Amniya,
answering directly to Baghdadi, according to
Although the loss of Mosul would
effectively end Islamic State's territorial
rule in Iraq, U.S. and Iraqi officials are
preparing for the group to go underground
and fight an insurgency like the one that
followed the U.S.-led invasion.
The last official report about Baghdadi
was from the Iraqi military on Feb. 13.
Iraqi F-16s carried out a strike on a house
where he was thought to be meeting other
commanders, in western Iraq, near the Syrian
border, they said in a statement.
More than 40 leading members of the group
have been killed in coalition air strikes,
according to experts. Baghdadi has not
officially appointed a successor.