US claims killing of ISIS' Haji Imam aka Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli
U.S. coalition forces took out another major ISIS commander this month: Haji Imam, a senior religious leader of the self-proclaimed Islamic State and arguably the group’s second in command, was killed in an operation inside Syria, according to a top defense official.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter, flanked by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford, will announce the news Friday morning, the official said, speaking anonymously to describe the coalition’s operations.
Haji Imam’s real name is said to be Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli. He was considered to be in line to succeed ISIS leader Omar al-Baghdadi, though some ISIS watchers say his Turkoman background ruled that out.
Carter will also confirm the reported killing of ISIS’s “minister of war” in a strike this month. Tarkhan Batirashvili, better known as Omar al-Shishani or “Omar the Chechen,” was reported to be badly wounded by an airstrike, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
That makes two major hits by the U.S. Special Operations-led effort inside Syria.
A Pentagon spokesman reached Friday morning declined to comment.
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