Islamic State confirms death of deputy leader al-Hayali

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The Islamic State (ISIS) group has confirmed the death of deputy leader Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali in a U.S. airstrike in northern Iraq in August.

ISIS spokesman Abu Mohammad al-Adnani confirmed al-Hayali’s death in a 40-minute audio recording released online on Tuesday. The recording confirms the most high-profile killing yet in the fight against the Islamic State, which has seized territory in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

The White House had already announced in August that Fadhil Ahmad al-Hayali, who was also known as Hajji Mutazz, had been killed in a U.S. airstrike on a vehicle near Mosul. A White House spokesman said at the time that al-Hayali’s death would adversely impact the Islamic State’s operations, citing his influence in finance, media, operations, and logistics. An ISIS media operative known as Abu Abdullah was also killed in the airstrike.

In Tuesday’s audio recording, al-Adnani also threatened the United States and said the country would “taste the tragedy.” The spokesman referred to U.S. President Barack Obama as an “idiot,” calling him “a failure” with “no solutions.”

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