The Department of Defense announced that ISIS’s second in command has been killed.
Officials said Haji Imam was killed, but declined to say where.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Joe Dunford made the announcement on March 25 during a news conference.
“Indeed the U.S. military killed several key ISIL terrorists this week including Haji Imam,” said Carter, using ISIS’s other name.
“He was a well known terrorist within ISIL’s ranks dating back to its earliest iteration as al-Qaeda in Iraq, when he worked under Zarqawi as its liaison for operations with Pakistan,” he added.
Imam’s real name is believed to be Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, and was supposedly the next in line after “caliph” Omar al-Bahdadi.
The killing of Qaduli comes at a time where the United States has increased the targeting of ISIS leaders.
Pentagon Officials also confirmed the killing of another top ISIS commander, Omar al-Shishani, also known as “Omar the Chechen,” in an earlier raid this month.
“We are systematically eliminating ISIL’s cabinet,” said Carter.
“The second senior ISIL leader we’ve successfully targeted this month,” he added.
However, Carter said that the killing of ISIS leaders does not end the organization.
“As you know leaders can be replaced. These leaders have been around for a long time—they are senior and experienced and eliminating them is an important objective and result. They will be replaced and we will continue to go after their leadership,” Carter continued.
Secretary of State John Kerry had previously offered a $7 million reward for any information revealing Qaduli’s whereabouts last year.