US Airstrike kills ISIS second in command

Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli

A US airstrike has claimed the life of ISIS’ No. 2 leader, US officials proclaimed on Friday.

The commander, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, was reported dead a short time after the strike occurred.

“We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said at a briefing on Friday.

Carter said the ISIS commander was a “senior leader serving as a finance minister who was also involved in external affairs and plots.”

Before his death Qaduli was largely seen as the likely successor to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, if Baghdadi were to die.

“The momentum of this campaign is clearly on our side,” Carter said of the US coalition against ISIS.

Last year, the US State Department authorized a $7 million reward for information on Qaduli.

The State Department referred to Qaduli as “a senior ISIL official who rejoined ISIL following his release from prison in early 2012.”

Before joining ISIS he was a member of Al Qaeda in Iraq.

He served as the temporary leader of the group after Baghdadi was thought to be injured in an airstrike.

 

Qaduli was reportedly a follower of Abu Musaab al-Suri, a prominent jihadi scholar, and used to teach physics in the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

He has served as a link between ISIS’ top leaders and its lower ranks and helped with coordination between the upper ranks and the emirs in different regional provinces.

Last year the Iraqi government claimed to have killed Qaduli — a claim that was never confirmed.