Iraqi officials today reported that ISIS deputy commander Abu Alaa al-Afari was killed in a US airstrike against a mosque near Tal Afar, and that he was one of “dozens” killed.
Iraqi officials had previously reported Afari was the acting leader of ISIS, amid claims that ISIS Caliph Abu Bakr Baghdadi was wounded, though that wounding was never confirmed.
Afari’s death seems even less confirmed than that, however, with the Pentagon insisting no airstrike against the mosque ever took place, either by them or any other coalition member.
Centcom similarly said they had no evidence anything had happened to Afari. A US attack on a Sunni mosque would likely prove controversial, though not so much so that the Pentagon would generally deny such a strike, particularly if it killed a “high-value target.”