The Islamic State group's primary executioner, who was reportedly personally responsible for more than 100 beheadings, was killed during an ambush in Iraq.
Abu Sayyaf appeared in many of the terror group's propaganda videos decapitating prisoners. According to The Sun, he collects the heads of all of his victims and keeps them buried in a hole in the region of al-Khasafa.
"Abu Sayyaf was one of the scariest executioners in Nineveh," said Iraqi journalist Muhammad Yawar. "He was a reflection of the brutality of this terrorist group. He was one of the notorious faces in the ISIS propaganda videos."
Iraqi News confirmed Jan. 29 that Sayyaf was stabbed to death by a group of unknown individuals outside the region of Mosul.
"An unknown armed group killed on Sunday the Islamic State’s most famous decapitator, the so-nicknamed 'Abu Sayyaf,'" said an unnamed security source. "The armed group ambushed him at al-Dawasa region, in the western side of the city, and stabbed him several times. He died immediately."
Sayyaf is the second IS executioner to have been killed during the second half of January. On Jan. 27, The Sun reports that Abu Abdel Rahman was gunned down by a group of unknown vigilantes.
Rahman was well-known for executing Iraqi women. In one still frame from an IS propaganda video, he appears holding a meat cleaver in front of a group of frightened women and children.
Both executioners primarily operated in the city of Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. In October 2016, almost two years after the extremist group seized control of most of the country, U.S. forces joined the Iraqi army to launch an offensive against IS to retake the city.
The entire eastern half of the city is now under the control of the Iraqi Army, a development that U.S. Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend calls a "monumental achievement."
However, as Townsend warns, "there is still a long way to go before [IS] is completely eliminated from Iraq, and the fight for western Mosul is likely to be even tougher than the eastern side."
The U.N. estimates that almost 750,000 civilians remain trapped in western Mosul and most of them are without water, electricity or other basic necessities.