The second-highest ranking ISIS commander, Abu Hajar Al-Suri, is dead, according to reports out of Iraq Thursday. Al-Suri was killed in a United States airstrike on the city of Mosul, a city captured by ISIS forces in June, a senior Iraqi military official told NBC News.
Earlier reports of Al-Suri’s death did not say how the top terrorist leader, believed to rank second in ISIS only to the group’s fanatical leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed. The Times Of Israel initially reported the killing of Al-Suri, but noted “circumstances of his alleged death remain shrouded in mystery.”
The paper also pointed out that Thursday’s report marked the second time that the purported ISIS second-in-command has been reported dead. On August 22, Al-Suri — also known under the aliases Majed Muhammad Suhaim and Abu Hajar al-Shami — was reportedly killed in a suicide bombing that went wrong.
The Pentagon could not confirm the report, saying that U.S. airstrikes have not so far targeted any specific individual, but Al-Suri or any other top Islamic State terrorist may have found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
“If there were leaders inside troop formations that have been attacked, then they will likely be killed,” said Defense Department spokesperson Col Steve Warren.
Two other high-ranking ISIS members were also killed by the U.S. airstrike, according to the Iraqi sources who spoke to NBC. The other two dead ISIS leaders were not named, but were said to be another high-level military commander and a top bomb-maker.
Also on Thursday, Turkey arrested 19 ISIS militants who were preparing to cross the border into Syria to join the extremist Islamic group. Turkey has been criticized for not taking strong measures against its citizens who seek to join ISIS.
As The Inquisitr reported this week, a Turkish journalist held for 40 days as an ISIS hostage said that most of his captors were Turkish, either from Turkey or from Germany.
In the northern Iraq village of Tal Ali on Thursday, ISIS militants kidnapped about 50 people Thursday after villagers burned the ISIS flag.