Al-Ali, the editor-in-chief of the independent Mosul daily Rai al-Nas, was shot dead by Islamic State militants on April 26, 2015, according to the Iraqi Journalists Syndicate, local press freedom groups, and his colleagues. He was also the vice president for the Iraqi nongovernmental organization Iraqi Family, which advocates on behalf of Iraqi children and women.
Al-Ali was kidnapped by Islamic State militants on April 6, 2015, from a Mosul café, according to the reports, which said the militants confiscated his phone and, upon finding contacts for Iraqi government officials, accused him of being an informant for the Iraqi government and the media. Twenty days later, militants shot him dead and gave his body to the medical examiner, according to an unnamed source in the medical examiner's office who spoke to the National Iraqi News Agency.
The journalist had criticized the Islamic State group on his Facebook profile. On June 9, 2014, he wrote a post that called on Mosul residents to unite against Islamic State forces. The militant group completely overran the city the next day.
Al-Ali was not affiliated with any political parties, the editorial director for the local Nineveh Reporters Network, Mohammed al-Biyati, told the Kurdish media network Rudaw.
While the Islamic State group has often publicized its murders of international journalists in highly produced videos, it has often not given the same attention to its executions of local journalists, according to CPJ research. In the weeks that al-Ali was kidnapped and murdered, the Islamic State group in Mosul released pictures and videos about military preparations in the city and the stoning of purported adulterers. There is no mention of Al-Ali's murder.
Since the Islamic State takeover over the city, dozens of journalists have been kidnapped, many have been reportedly killed, and many more have fled the city, as described in a CPJ guest blog post by Iraqi journalist Oday Hatem. The exact toll the Islamic State has waged upon the Mosul journalism community is unclear given the difficulty of confirming information from the city.