CONFIRMED DEAD: ISIS 2nd in Command sent to hell in bombing
U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter confirmed on Friday that American forces had killed the Islamic State (ISIS) group’s second-in-commandthis week, dealing a blow to the extremists’ ability to conduct operations in Iraq, Syria and abroad, AFP reports.
“We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” Carter told reporters, using an alternative acronym from ISIS and referring also to the killing early in the month of Omar al-Shishani, the man known as “Omar the Chechen,” who was effectively ISIS’s defense minister.
The latest killing “will hamper the ability for them to conduct operations inside and outside of Iraq and Syria,” Carter said of Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, referring to him as Haji Imam. He said al-Qaduli served as the group’s finance minister and had been behind some foreign plots.
“The momentum of this campaign is now clearly on our side,” the defense secretary said, adding that “we’re broadening both the weight and the nature of our attacks on ISIL.”
Carter declined to say whether al-Qaduli had been killed by a drone strike or in a bombing raid involving manned aircraft, nor would he specify whether the attack occurred in Syria or Iraq, though he said that any action in Iraq would only have been taken with Iraqi government approval.
The Justice Department had offered a bounty of up to $7 million for information leading to al-Qaduli, one of several leaders of ISIS on whose head a bounty was placed.
“A few months ago when I said we were going to go after ISIL’s financial infrastructure, we started with storage sites, and now we’ve taken out the leader who oversees their finances, hurting their ability to pay and hire recruits,” Carter said Friday, according to AFP.
Asked whether al-Qaduli could have had a link to the November terror attacks in Paris or to this week’s bombings in Belgium, Carter said he could not confirm a specific link to the Brussels attacks.
But whether Islamic State group jihadists in Iraq and Syria like al-Qaduli had specifically directed or simply inspired such attacks, the U.S.-led forces would do their best to eliminate them, Carter said.
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