Haji Mutazz, also known as Abu Mulsim al-Turkmani, whose real name is Fadel Ahmad al-Hayali was reportedly killed by a drone strike in mid-August 2015. Mutazz was one of the Islamic State leaders Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s number twos who was responsible for the group’s operations in Iraq. While the U.S. officially said that it had killed the IS leader, the problem was this was the third time that Mutazz had allegedly been killed casting a large shadow over his demise.
The spokesman for the United States’ National Security Council (NSC) announced that Haji Mutazz was dead on August 18, 2015. He was killed in a car driving outside of Mosul by a drone strike. Mutazz was one of the Islamic State’s Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s top two lieutenants. He’s believed to be the head of the Islamic State’s military council, is a member of the Shura Council and Provincial Council, is in charge of the group’s operations in Iraq, and might be involved in finances as well. He would be a major loss for the organization if he did indeed die. He brings a military background as he was a lieutenant colonel in intelligence and Special Forces under Saddam. He’s also one of Baghdadi’s top advisers.
The problem with the NSC’s claim is that this was the third time Mutazz was said to have been killed. Back in December 2014 the U.S. said that it killed him in an air strike in northern Iraq. The U.S. now admits that it got that wrong. Then in February 2015, the Iraqi press reported that the U.S. killed him in Anbar. That automatically raises questions about the latest story of Mutazz’s demise. Unless the Islamic State posts a memorial about his death there is probably little way to confirm this story. Then again, the U.S. or Iraqis could say that they killed him again, which would prove this latest story false.
Barrett, Richard, “The Islamic State,” Soufan Group, November 2014
Dyer, Geoff, “US says strike killed senior Isis leaders,” Financial Times, 12/19/14
Schmitt, Eric, “U.S. Raid in Syria Uncovers Details on ISIS Leadership and Finances,” New York Times, 6/8/15
Starr, Barbara and Acosta, Jim, “U.S.: ISIS No. 2 killed in U.S. drone strike in Iraq,” CNN, 8/21/15