WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Iraqi Ministry of Defense announced on its website on Wednesday that, according to critical intelligence information, the second-ranking ISIL leader Abu Alaa al-Afri was killed during an airstrike led by the international coalition forces. The Ministry claimed that the killing occurred during a gathering at a mosque.
“We are aware of media reports that the second-in-command of ISIL has been killed in a Coalition air strike in Tal Afar, and have no information to corroborate these claims. However, we can confirm that Coalition aircraft did not strike a mosque as some of the press reporting has alleged,” the release read.
The Central Command explained that they have “significant mitigation measures in place within the targeting process and during the conduct of operations to reduce the potential risks of collateral damage and civilian casualties.”
The Islamic State is a radical Sunni group in control of large areas in Iraq and Syria and notorious for kidnappings and violent executions of civilians.
A US-led coalition of over 60 nations is currently carrying out airstrikes against ISIL positions in Iraq and neighboring Syria.