TODAY |

'Ah look, I'll get it wrong' - John Key doesn't know ISIS leader's name either

John Key has fumbled through an attempt to name the head of Islamic State, echoing an interview where Australia's Defence Minister had his credibility destroyed by an ABC journalist over the same question.

The Prime Minister was asked the question after Australia's Defence Minister struggled to name the head of Islamic State. Source: 1 NEWS

Leigh Sales Source: 1 NEWS

Asked whether he could name the head of ISIS, the Prime Minister struggled to come up with a direct answer.

"Ah look, I'll get it wrong if I actually name his name, it's al-Jabiri something, but yeah, whatever...," Mr Key said.

It comes after Australia's Defence Minister was ridiculed today when he failed to answer ABC reporter Leigh Sales's questions on the eve of Australia deploying troops to Iraq.

Kevin Andrews continued to return wishy-washy answers as Ms Sales pressed on in last night's 7.30 Report.

"So, sorry, just to be clear, who is the leader and what is the focus on his capture?" Ms Sales asked.

"Well, I'm not going to go into operational matters, obviously, Leigh," Mr Andrews replied.

"I don't think that's operational. I think it's a matter of public record," Ms Sales said.

"Minister, you're responsible for putting Australian men and women in harm's way in the cause of this mission. I'm surprised that you can't tell me the name of Islamic State's leader. The US State Department has a $10 million bounty on his head?"

"Well, as I said, ISIL is a combination of groups, Leigh.

"There is not just one individual involved in this. There are Australians involved in the senior leadership of ISIL or DAISH, and there is a fluidity between groups that we've seen over the past few months in that area.

"It's not just one person involved. There's a series of people involved and we must ultimately destroy all of them if we're going to degrade their operations in that area," Mr Andrews replied.

Ms Sales shot back with: "The specific person to whom I have been referring is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi."

Mr Andrews has taken heat on Twitter today, with many questioning his competence in sending troops to Iraq.

New Zealand troops are also being deployed alongside the Australians where they will carry out a training and security role with the Iraqi soldiers in a bid to combat ISIS.

Why is it always 'operational matters' by this govt when they want to hide information or just cannot answer a question? #auspol#abc730

— Bill Kinnaird (@billkinn) April 14, 2015

It's a new world when the Gotcha question for indolent, incompetent politicians isn't the price of milk but the name of a terrorist #abc730

— Julius Flywheel (@JuliusFlywheel) April 14, 2015

Defence Minister can't name the leader of IS he's committing troops to fight. The level of incompetence is of the charts. #auspol#abc730

— Nic Halley (@NicHalley) April 14, 2015