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ISIS second-in-command killed in airstrike, Iraqi intelligence says

Ayad al-Jumaili, believed to be a deputy of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an airstrike on Friday, an Iraqi intelligence spokesman say.

Strike by Iraqi air force took place near border with Syria

An Iraqi Federal Police member takes munitions from a wheelbarrow as he looks towards ISIS positions during combat between Iraqi forces and Islamic State in Mosul on Saturday. An ISIS deputy was killed with other ISIS commanders in a strike carried out by the Iraqi air force in the region of al-Qaim on Friday. (Andres Martinez Casares/Reuters)

Ayad al-Jumaili, believed to be a deputy of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed in an airstrike on Friday, an Iraqi intelligence spokesman said on Saturday.
 
The U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria 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 ISIS 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.

290,000 flee

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, have been battling to retake the city of Mosul, ISIS's 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 United Nations.

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 ISIS's top security agency in Iraq and Syria, known as Amniya, answering directly to Baghdadi, according to experts.

Preparing for insurgency

Although the loss of Mosul would effectively end ISIS'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 airstrikes, according to experts. Baghdadi has not officially appointed a successor.

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