Pentagon announces ISIS second in command killed

Posted at 10:29 AM, Mar 25, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-25 11:18:19-04

The Pentagon said Friday that it had killed ISIS’ number two leader, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli.

Analysts believe al-Qaduli would be expected to take control of the day-to-day running of ISIS if its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed or incapacitated.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the death at a press conference Friday.

A U.S. official told CNN that al Qaduli was involved in overseeing the terrorist group’s finances.

Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli

Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli

This is not the first time al-Qaduli has been reported killed. In July, the Iraqi Defense Ministry claimed a coalition air strike had killed him in Tal Afar in northern Iraq.

At the time U.S. Central Command, which oversees military operations in the region, debunked the claim saying it had “no information to corroborate” that ISIS’ second-in-command had been killed.

The U.S. Treasury Department designated al-Qaduli “a specially designated global terrorist” in 2014. He also goes by 12 aliases including Hajji Iman, according to the Treasury Department.

The U.S. State Department had offered a $7 million reward for information on al-Qaduli — the highest for any ISIS leader apart from al-Baghdadi, who is valued at $10 million.

That sizable bounty makes al-Qaduli the sixth most wanted terrorist in the world, ranking only behind the likes of the leaders of al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban’s Haqqani Network.

Al-Qaduli was born in Mosul in either 1957 or 1959.

He initially joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq — the group that would evolve into ISIS — in 2004, serving as a top deputy to then-leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and emir of the group’s branch in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city.

He was captured and jailed by Iraqi authorities but was released in 2012, at which point, he rejoined the terror group in Syria, according to the U.S. State Department.

Al-Qaduli is also believed to go by the name Abu Alaa al-Afri, but CNN cannot independently confirm they are the same person.

Al-Afri is reputed to have been a physics teacher and a favorite of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

He is an ethnic Turkmen, which analysts say was a barrier that could have prevented him from succeeding ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

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