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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