BAGHDAD: An aide to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been killed in an airstrike near the city of Fallujah, report.
State television identified the man as Abu Huthaifa al-Yamani. It did not say when the strike took place or give further details. It was not immediately possible to confirm the death or whether Yamani was an aide to Baghdadi.
The Pentagon said Monday it could not corroborate reports that Baghdadi had been killed or wounded in Iraq, acknowledging conflicting media reports from the region.
“We do not have any information to corroborate reports out of Iraq that Baghdadi has been either killed or wounded,” Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said.
The contradictory accounts from Iraq came following U.S. airstrikes Friday night.
Fallujah is an ISIS stronghold to the west of Baghdad in Anbar Province.
The U.S. and its allies launched a barrage of attacks against ISIS over the weekend, conducting 23 airstrikes in Syria and 18 in Iraq against the militant group since Friday, U.S. Central Command said.
In Iraq, seven strikes hit near Beiji and others in or near Fallujah, Mosul, Al-Qaim, Haditha, Ramadi and Rutba.
U.S. Central Command said the strikes in Syria included 13 aimed near the besieged border town of Ain al-Arab and 10 near Deir al-Zor.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an anti-regime monitoring group, said a prominent ISIS member, Abu Anas al-Shami, was seen in public in the Syrian border town of Al-Bukamal. The Observatory said Shami’s appearance, as he walked around a local market surrounded by bodyguards, was interpreted as a denial of reports that he was killed in a strike on Al-Qaim, on the other side of the border.
Also, Britain launched its first drone strike in Iraq against ISIS fighters over the weekend, the government announced, saying a Hellfire missile had been fired at militants laying improvised explosive devices.
Britain’s parliament approved airstrikes against ISIS insurgents in Iraq in September and Royal Air Force Tornado GR4 fighter-bombers have since carried out dozens of combat missions as part of U.S.-led military action in the country.
The Defense Ministry said a Reaper drone had taken part in a series of coalition missions near Beiji, north of Baghdad, and had provided intelligence to coalition aircraft to let them conduct further strikes.