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Islamic State 'finance minister' killed in air strike: US

Defence secretary Ashton Carter says death of Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli, known as Haji Imam, will hamper IS operations
The US offered a $7mn reward for information leading to death of capture of Qaduli

The Islamic State group's reported finance minister has been killed in a US air raid, the American defence secretary said on Friday.

Ashton Carter said the death of Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli would hamper the group's operational ability, adding that its cabinet was being "systematically eliminated".

"Leaders can be replaced. However, these leaders have been around for a long time. They are senior, they are experienced," Carter told a Pentagon news conference.

Carter did not say whether the Qaduli was killed in Syria or Iraq.

Some reports referred to Qaduli as the IS group's second in command behind Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, although the AP news agency referred to him as a finance minister

The US Justice Department had offered up to $7mn for information leading to Qaduli, who went by the nom de guerre as Haji Imam.

The IS command structure remains secret and only several other individuals are on a US wanted list.

Qaduli's death, if confirmed, would be the second reported killing of a top IS commander in weeks.

Earlier this month, the Pentagon said a man known as "Omar the Chechen", the so-called IS 'minister of war' was dead after suffering injuries in a US-led coalition strike in northeastern Syria.

The announcement appeared to clear up the fate of the Omar al-Shishani, a week after a US official said the most-wanted militant had been targeted in a 4 March attack.

Shishani - whose real name was Tarkhan Batirashvili - was one of the IS leaders most wanted by Washington, which offered a $5m reward for information leading to his death or capture.

However other reports stated that Shishani was injured but still alive.

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