A U.S.-led air strike has killed the Islamic State’s second-in-command in northern Iraq on Monday, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense.
Abdul Rahman Mustafa Mohammed, who also goes by Abu Alaa al-Afari, was targeted inside of a mosque near Tal Afar, according to Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesman Brig-Gen Tahsin Ibrahim. Tal Afar is in the northern part of Nineveh and was seized by the Islamic State in June 2014.
The news comes at the heels of a Pentagon announcement that an air strike was able to destroy “a militant fighting position and a heavy machine gun.” A Pentagon spokeswoman confirmed to BBC that it was aware of the media reports, but could not confirm the alleged death at this time.
Unconfirmed reports had surfaced recently that claimed al-Afari was temporarily in charge of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, due to the fact that their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been injured in an air strike.
(Islamic State Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi)
The BBC now reports that al-Afari was murdered while meeting in the mosque along with dozens of Islamic State terrorist cells.
Atheel al-Nujaifi, the Governor of Nineveh, contacted the news corporation in order to confirm al-Afari’s death.
(Abu Alaa al-Afari)
Just last week, the U.S. State Department offered a $7 million reward for information regarding al-Afari.
The former Islamic State second-in-command was born in either 1957 or 1959 in the Iraqi city of Mosul. He served as the former leader of Al Qaeda forces in Iraq. After he was released from jail in 2012, he joined the Islamic State in Syria.
As of yet, there has been no immediate confirmation of al-Afari's reported death by either the U.S. military or the Islamic State.
Photo Credit: The Daily Mail, Khaama