Report: Second In Command ISIS Leader Killed

| by Sean Kelly
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The Pentagon announced that it took out the Islamic State's finance minister.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced the death of Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli at a news conference.

"We are systematically eliminating ISIL's cabinet," Carter said. Al-Qaduli is reportedly the second senior ISIS leader the U.S. has targeted in March alone, CNN reported. A number of analysts said they believe al-Qaduli was the terrorist group's number two leader.

"We've taken out the leader who oversees the funding for ISIL's operations, hurting their ability to pay fighters and hire recruits," Carter said. "We're certainly gathering momentum and we're seeing that that momentum is having an effect."

Though the killing of Al-Qaduli is seen as a significant step in the fight against ISIS, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Joseph Dunford said the fight was far from over.

"By no means would I say that we're about to break the back of ISIL or that the fight is over," he cautioned.

Carter acknowledged the current threat ISIS poses to Europe in particular, following the recent attacks in Brussels, Belgium.

"Like Paris, Brussels is a strong reminder of why we need to hasten the defeat of ISIL wherever it exists in the world," he said. "Our enemies are one and the same. And together we continue to do more and more to bring the full weight of our vast military capabilities to bear in accelerating the defeat of ISIL."

Al-Qaduli was born in the city of Mosul, Iraq, and initially joined Al-Qaeda in Iraq before the group evolved into ISIS. He was captured by Iraqi authorities but released in 2012, prompting him to rejoin the terrorist group in Syria.

In December 2015, another ISIS finance minister was reported to have been killed in an air strike. Brett McGurk, special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, tweeted at the time confirming the death of Abu Salah.

"Confirmed: Death of #ISIL finance minister Abu Saleh & 2 associates as part of coalition campaign to destroy ISIL's financial infrastructure," the tweet read.

Sources: CNN, Daily Mirror, Brett McGurk via Twitter / Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons