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    Islamic State Finance Minister Killed by US Forces

    Defense Secretary Ash Carter, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, announces that U.S. forces killed a senior Islamic State leader, among several key members of the militant group eliminated this week, during a news conference at the Pentagon, March 25, 2016.
    Defense Secretary Ash Carter, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, announces that U.S. forces killed a senior Islamic State leader, among several key members of the militant group eliminated this week, during a news conference at the Pentagon, March 25, 2016.

    U.S. forces have killed Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, an Islamic State finance minister also responsible for the terrorist group's external affairs, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday.

    "We are systematically eliminating ISIL's Cabinet," Carter said, using an acronym for the terrorist group.

    Carter would not say whether Qaduli, also known as Hajji Iman, was killed in Iraq or Syria, nor would he say whether the IS leader was killed in a raid or an airstrike.

    WATCH: Defense Secretary Carter, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Dunford

    Defense Secretary Carter: US Forces Kill IS Finance Ministeri
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    Carla Babb
    March 25, 2016 7:29 PM
    U.S. forces have killed Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, an Islamic State finance minister also responsible for the terrorist group's external affairs, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday.

    According to a U.S. defense official, Qaduli was "actively plotting to conduct terror attacks in the West."

    The official said the U.S. military believes Qaduli was providing money to foreign fighters trying to develop and carry out attacks similar to the attack this week in Brussels.

    This undated photo courtesy of the U.S. State Department's Rewards For Justice Program shows Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli. The Islamic State group's second in command is said to have been killed in a U.S. raid in Syria.
    This undated photo courtesy of the U.S. State Department's Rewards For Justice Program shows Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli. The Islamic State group's second in command is said to have been killed in a U.S. raid in Syria.

    Qaduli was released from Iraqi prison in early 2012 and had a $7 million reward on his head.

    Others under attack

    Carter also announced that Abu Sara, an Islamic State leader charged with paying fighters in Iraq, was targeted by U.S. forces this week.

    A defense official told VOA that Sara was hit by a U.S. drone airstrike in Iraq.

    Omar al-Shishani — also known as "Omar the Chechen" — was killed in a U.S. airstrike in March, and IS chemical weapons expert Abu Malik was killed by a strike in late January.

    "Striking leadership is necessary, but it's far from sufficient," Carter said.

    He added that the killing of Qaduli was consistent with U.S. strategy of pressuring the Islamic State in "every single way we can, from the leadership right down to supporting local forces on the ground."

    "Momentum is in our favor," General Joe Dunford, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told reporters at the briefing Friday, "but by no means would I say that we're about to break the back of ISIL or that the fight is over."

    U.S. role questioned

    The announcement of Qaduli's death comes one day after a senior U.S. official said Marines who were protecting U.S. forces near the northern town of Makhmur fired artillery rounds and illumination rounds to help Iraqi forces locate IS fighters.

    Reporters questioned Carter and Dunford on whether these actions expanded the role of U.S. forces from purely supporting Iraqis to actively engaging in ground combat.

    Dunford said he expected "increased capabilities provided to the Iraqis to set the conditions" to retake Mosul from Islamic State fighters, but he did not feel the actions in Makhmur constituted a change in the U.S. mission.

    "This is not a fundamental shift in our approach to support the Iraqi forces," the top U.S. general said. "There's no inconsistency between what this artillery unit did and what our aviation support is doing every single day."

    Palmyra

    Also Friday, local media reported that Syrian soldiers had recaptured the city of Palmyra after fierce fighting with the Islamic State.

    The group — in control of the strategically important area since May 2015 — had killed the local antiquities chief and blown up many historically significant sites in the area.

    Katherine Gypson and VOA National Security Correspondent Jeff Seldin contributed to this report.


    Carla Babb

    Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Her datelines include Ukraine, Turkey, Pakistan, Korea, Japan and Egypt.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Civilian
    March 26, 2016 3:12 PM
    The police in every city are not adequate to deal with ISIS, to prevent terrorist attacks, and to protect civilians. Free world leaders, don't you start feel guilty seeing your innocent people brutally killed and critically wounded and handicapped for life because of your failure to protects them with the best and strongest protection they deserve? Get your army out from their barracks to defend your people and country.

    by: Observer from: Asia
    March 26, 2016 2:48 AM
    It has taken too long time just to take out an important minister of ISIS, let alone to defeat ISIS, let alone to destroy ISIS. ISIS has killed and critically wounded too many innocent civilians because of the failure of Western country leaders and the US to deal effectively with it. Many are wondering about the benefit of countries to have armies and troops when they are not doing what they are supposed to be doing as their duties. It is almost the same as having no armies at all. ISIS continues to march triumphantly, spread, kill, destroy, and occupy their enemies.

    by: Alice from: Canada
    March 25, 2016 1:18 PM
    Rot in hell Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli. May all the sadistic ISIL murders with whom you worked join you soon in Hades.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 25, 2016 5:05 PM
    Remember when the US commander in chief bragged after killing Bin Laden that al-Qaeda was on the run and their leadership had been decimated?
    Remember when al-Baghdadi went to Syria in March of 2013 and found a complete army of US armed and trained Sunni Muslim extremists, fanatics and insane that were waging Jihad war on Assad and Syria, and gave them a better cause to fight and die for (as a martyr) in his newly created ISIL Caliphate army, [and then in August of 2014], al-Baghdadi led his newly created ISIL Caliphate arm in an invasion of Iraq, and beheaded 3 Americans, [and now], the rest is history?

    The US armed and trained them to wage Jihad war on Assad, but they joined the ISIL Caliphate army and al-Qaeda instead, to wage Jihad war on the US and everybody else?

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