U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter said Friday a top Islamic State commander is believed to have been killed in a raid in Syria.
Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli – described as the group’s second in command – was murdered on Thursday, according to U.S. media reports.
Speaking at a Pentagon press conference, Carter said he could not elaborate on details of the raid but said it was “consistent with our strategy” to “put pressure on ISIS leadership.” Carter described Qaduli as a well-known member of Islamic State.
“Leaders can be replaced. However, these leaders have been around for a long time. They are senior, and they are experienced,” Carter said.
The announcement comes as local media reported Syrian soldiers had recaptured the city of Palmyra after fierce fighting with the Islamic State.
The group – in control of the strategic area since May 2015 – had killed the local antiquities chief and blown up many historically significant sites in the area.
Earlier in March, Omar al-Shishani – also known as “Omar the Chechen” – was killed in a U.S. airstrike.