Former al-Qaeda leader, close aide to IS’s Baghdadi, killed in Mosul airstrike

Mosul – A local official has unveiled that a former al-Qaeda leader and a close aide of Islamic State’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed in an airstrike in western Mosul on Sunday.

Alsumaria News quoted Udai al-Khadran, mayor of al-Khales, Diyala, saying he received confirmed information that the militant, a former Iraqi army brigadier, died along with four companions.

Kahdran said the deceased member was al-Qaeda’s “emir” in al-Khales between 2006 and 2007. He had fled to Hawija, Islamic State’s stronghold in Kirkuk, where he stayed in hiding using a fake ID before emerging to the scene again to become IS’s military commander for that region. He later became a senior commander in Mosul.

“The deceased is the mastermind for Islamic State’s defense strategies,” Khadran stated, adding that he had been involved in the killing of “hundreds of innocent people in many provinces, including Diyala.”

Islamic State founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi emerged in 2014 in Mosul to proclaim an self-styled “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Mosul. Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition have been fighting IS off Mosul since October. Iraqi generals say the city could be fully retaken before the start of the holy month of Ramadan, May 27th.

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