A U.S. special operations team killed the Islamic State’s second-in-command in a pre-dawn raid early Thursday morning inside Syria, senior defense officials said Friday — as Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the U.S. has taken out several key terrorists in recent days.
“We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” Carter said.
Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, also known as Abu Ala al-Afri, had a $7 million bounty on his head by the U.S. government.
Carter, speaking alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, Jr., confirmed the death at a press conference Friday without going into the details of the operation.
Carter referred to the target by another nickname, Haji Imam, describing him as the ISIS finance minister. But the terror leader also was considered the man most likely to take over for ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, if he were captured or killed.