US claims to have killed top Islamic State commander in Syria

Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli was believed to be in line to lead terrorist group

Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli – also known as Abu Ala al-Afri – was deputy leader of Islamic State.

Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli – also known as Abu Ala al-Afri – was deputy leader of Islamic State.

 

The United States has killed a top Islamic State commander in Syria, who was believed to be in line to lead the terrorist group, US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday.

The killing of a top commander, Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, who is also known by other names, comes as the US is having increased success targeting the Islamic State’s leadership.

Last week, Defense Department officials concluded that US strikes had killed the group’s minister of war, Omar al-Shishani.

“We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” Carter said at a news conference, using another acronym for the group. Defense Department officials have declined to elaborate why they are having more success striking the groups top commanders.

Earlier this year, a special unit of US commandos tasked with identifying, capturing and killing the Islamic States leaders arrived in Iraq and began working closely with local forces there.

“The momentum of this campaign is clearly on our side,” Carter said.

A similar group of US special forces in Syria has been working alongside rebel groups there for several months. Despite the victories on the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State still appears capable of pulling off large, complex attacks far beyond its safe haven.

This week, the group claimed credit for the bombings in Brussels that killed 31 people and injured scores.

– New York Times