Defense Secretary Aston B. Carter said Friday that U.S. military forces killed this week an experienced ISIS leader, who was in charge of finances. The announcement comes in a context where the U.S.-led coalition is conducting military plans to target leaders and explosives caches of the terrorist group.
U.S. plans are focused on “systematically eliminating” top commanders of the Islamic State cabinet, as Mr. Carter explained on Friday. Last week, Pentagon officials said that another ISIS senior leader, known as “Omar the Chechen”, has died in Syria after a U.S. airstrike.
“Striking leadership is necessary, but as you know it’s far from sufficient. …Leaders can be replaced. These leaders have been around for a long time — they are senior and experienced and eliminating them is an important objective and result.” Defense Secretary Ash Carter said at a news conference, according to the New York Times (NYT).
Haji Imam or Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, who was killed this week by U.S. forces, was the Islamic State’s finance minister. According to Mr. Carter, the senior leader had participated in the planning of ISIS’s attacks abroad. However, it is still not clear if he took action in the Brussels’ bombings.
Mr. Carter added that if new leaders arise, the U.S. will continue to target them because their removal would become an obstacle to ISIS when carrying out terrorist operations inside and outside Iraq and Syria, as reported by the NYT.
Until now, U.S. officials have declined to provide information about when the attacks occurred and how military forces were able to kill Haji Imam. However, they specified that Mr. Qaduli was the man in charge of organizing daily economic operations of ISIS and its affiliates in Syria, Iraq and Libya, according to NBC News.
It appears that Mr. Qaduli was an important link between the ISIS’ leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the terrorist group, which claimed responsibility this week for the bombings in Brussels, that killed at least 31 people and wounded 270 others.
The U.S. seems perseverant at “striking ISIS’s leadership”: last week it killed “Omar the Chechen”
A Pentagon official said Tuesday last week to the New York times, under the condition of anonymity, that a top ISIS militant died of his wounds on March, after the U.S. deployed an airstrike near the Syrian city of Shaddai on March 4.
It appears that the senior Pentagon official did not provide more information about how the militant specifically died and how the information was confirmed. However, they affirmed that the man was recognized as “Omar the Chechen” or Omar al-Shishani, former ISIS’s minister of war.