Donald Trump and other conservatives love to sprout that ISIS is running wild, and that President Obama and our military are just sitting back and letting it happen.
The Pentagon confirmed on Monday that ISIS leader Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was killed in a U.S. air strike on Aug. 30 in Syria. The next day, Russia claimed Adnani was killed in a Russian air strike, which is untrue.
Adnani was one of the most high-ranking figures in ISIS. In addition to his role as propaganda chief, he was thought to have been in charge of the group’s external terror operations. Adnani was the voice for many of the group’s most notorious propaganda speeches. His messages included calls for supporters to launch “lone wolf” attacks around the world, and the announcement in 2014 that the group had declared its so-called caliphate.
Adnani is reported to have been the head of ISIS’ external planning operations, and French intelligence officials believe that one of the people responsible for last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris worked with Adnani in Syria.
The spokesman’s death is one of the most significant losses in leadership for ISIS since the group seized large amounts of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014. That same year, the U.S. State Department declared Adnani a Specially Designated Global Terrorist for his senior role in ISIS. In May, the U.S. offered up to $5 million for information on Adnani.
ISIS has lost much of its territory this year, along with some of its senior leaders. In July, ISIS confirmed that one of its key military figures, Omar al-Shishani, had been killed, and earlier this month the Pentagon stated that the leader of the group’s Afghan affiliate had died in an airstrike.
Adnani’s death, however, is seen as an even more significant loss for ISIS, and leaves the group without its most prominent propagandist. “Adnani was the most relevant and important figure in ISIS’ infrastructure,” Javier Lesaca, a researcher at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs, told The WorldPost.
The United States had said on Aug. 30 that Adnani had been targeted in a strike, but it stopped short of confirming his death. Russia’s Defense Ministry said on Aug. 31 that a Russian air strike had killed Adnani.