The Pentagon says U.S. forces have killed a top Islamic State commander in Syria, as part of a series of military actions targeting ISIS leadership and its storage sites for explosives. U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter delivered the news on Friday.
This is not the first time Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli is reported to have been killed by American forces. About a year ago, Iraq's Ministry of Defense said that U.S. airstrikes killed him near the northern city of Tal Afar. Back then, the Defense Ministry said that "based on accurate intelligence," American strikes had taken out the ISIS chief and several other leaders, all of whom were gathered in a mosque. At the time, U.S. officials said they couldn't verify Iraq's claims.
From the New York Times today:
The killing of a top commander, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, who is also known by other names, comes as the United States is having increased success targeting the Islamic State's leadership. Last week, Defense Department officials concluded that American strikes had killed the group's minister of war, Omar al-Shishani.
"We are systematically eliminating ISIL's cabinet," Mr. Carter said at a news conference, using an acronym for the group.
But he made clear that the challenge was not that simple.
"Striking leadership is necessary," he said, "but as you know it's far from sufficient. As you know 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. They will be replaced and we will continue to go after their leadership."
Image source: U.S. Department of State/Handout via Reuters