Iraq News

Top ISIL strategist, spokesman killed in Syria

The "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant" (ISIL) confirmed Tuesday (August 30th) that its top strategist and spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani has been killed in Syria, AFP reported.

Al-Adnani was ISIL's propaganda chief, top recruiter and the reported mastermind of a string of ISIL-claimed attacks abroad, including in Paris, Brussels and Istanbul.

Analysts say his death will be a major blow to ISIL, which has suffered a series of setbacks this year, including territorial losses in Syria and Iraq and the killings of other top figures.

Al-Adnani was "the most viscerally aggressive ISIL leader in the public eye", said Charles Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute.

A Syrian born in Idlib province in 1977, al-Adnani was at the heart of a propaganda and recruitment machine that produced slick videos and sustained a huge social media presence.

The ISIL-affiliated Amaq news agency announced al-Adnani's death late Tuesday.

"Al-Adnani's killing is a signal that ISIL can no longer protect its most senior leaders," said Baghdad-based expert on extremist groups Hisham al-Hashimi.

Al-Adnani, who was a founding member of ISIL, served in Iraq under the late local al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

It was al-Adnani who, in a June 2014 audio recording, declared ISIL's establishment of a "caliphate" straddling Syria and Iraq and declared ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as "leader of Muslims everywhere".

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