Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the official spokesman and a senior leader of the Islamic State (IS)―a radical Sunni Islamist militant group, was killed in Syria. IS issued a rare public statement announcing the death of one of the group’s most prominent figures.
The IS-run Amaq News Agency reported on August 30 (hereinafter “local time”) that al-Adnani was killed while monitoring military operations in the Syrian province of Aleppo. IS did not mention the specific cause of his death, but emphasized that they were planning to retaliate for his death. IS said al-Adnani was “martyred.”
According to CNN, IS said in a public statement, “To the filthy and coward non-believers and to the holders of the Christ emblem, we bring the good news, which will keep them awake, that a new generation in the Islamic State that loves death more than life will only grow steadfast on the path to Jihad.”
The U.S.-led coalition forces, who were working together to sweep IS militants, said they did not yet confirm whether al-Adnani was really killed or not. However, an official from the US Department of Defense confirmed that al-Adnani was targeted in a precision strike near al-Bab, northern Syria. Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said, “We are still assessing the results of the strike, but al-Adnani’s removal from the battlefield would mark another significant blow to ISIS.”
Al-Adnani was IS’s chief strategist. In June, 2014, he formally declared on his website and Twitter account the establishment of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now simply called Islamic State (IS). He proclaimed the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, as the caliph and said the caliphate would extend from Aleppo in northwestern Syria to Diyala province in eastern Iraq. The word “caliph” means deputy or successor of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, and it refers to the supreme religious and political figure in a caliphate, a sovereign state encompassing the entirety of the Muslim nation, called the “Ummah.” Al-Adnani said in a statement, “The legality of all emirates, groups, states and organizations becomes null by the expansion of the caliph’s authority and the arrival of its troops to their areas. Listen to your caliph and obey him.”