WASHINGTON Islamic State's top finance officer and other senior leaders were likely killed this week in a major offensive targeting the militant group's financial operation, U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday.
Carter said the United States believes it killed Haji Iman, a senior Islamic State leader in charge of the group's finances as well as some plots and external affairs.
"We are systematically eliminating ISIL's cabinet," Carter told reporters at a briefing at the Pentagon, using an acronym to refer to the group.
Earlier media reports said Haji Iman, who also went by Abd ar-Rahman Mustafa al-Qaduli and other aliases, had been killed in a U.S. air strike in Syria, but Pentagon officials gave few details of the operation.
The operations came as U.S. officials said they were helping Iraqis prepare for a major operation in Mosul to take back territory from the militant group, which aims to establish a caliphate in Iraq and Syria.
U.S. Marine General Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the Pentagon expects increased capabilities will be provided to Iraqis in preparation for Mosul operations in the coming months.
(Reporting by Andrea Shala and Phil Stewart; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)
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