While Russia and Iran are busy liberating whole cities from ISIS in Syria, the US is sticking with the “one raid at a time” approach and it apparently paid dividends on Thursday morning when Abu Alaa Afri, also known as Abd al-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli and Haji Imam was killed in Syria.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford are set to make the announcement this morning at a press conference and the Pentagon is thrilled. Al-Qaduli had a $7 million bounty on his head, higher than Omar the Chechen (who was killed earlier this month) and Abu Mohammed al-Adnani who is arguably more influential than Bakr himself.
A physics teacher by trade, Mosul-born al-Qaduli was ISIS before ISIS was ISIS. He served as a deputy to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (Islamic State’s “godfather”) and was jailed by the US in Iraq in 2012. Upon his release, he joined ISIS and reportedly was Bin Laden’s choice to lead the group after Abu Omar al-Baghdadi and Abu Ayyub al-Masri were killed in 2010. He was, however, passed over for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, whose family can be loosely traced to the Prophet.