Editor’s Note: Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook has released a statement confirming that “coalition forces conducted a precision strike near Al Bab, Syria, targeting Abu Muhammad Al-Adnani, one of ISIL’s most senior leaders.”
Islamic State spokesman and “overseer of external terrorist operations” Mohammad al-Adnani was killed today, according by Amaq Agency, the official ISIS media outlet.
— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) August 30, 2016
Al-Adnani was killed “while inspecting military operations in the area of Aleppo, Syria,” according to CNN. ISIS has also failed to disclose the cause of al-Adnani’s death.
Pentagon officials say they are assessing an airstrike conducted in Syria targeting a senior ISIS member, but will not say if the target was al-Adnani.
Pentagon official confirms US targeted a Sr. ISIL leader al Bab, Syria airstrike, but not saying its Al-Adnani, who ISIL says is dead. #ISIL
— Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) August 30, 2016
The 39-year-old’s death marks the highest-ranking loss of an ISIS official, the CNN report adds.
Often described as the “chief propagandist” who ran the operation responsible for grisly videos showing beheadings, al-Adnani is also a founding member of the organization.
His role in the external operations division helped facilitate the “recruiting [of] operatives around the world and instigating or organizing them to carry out attacks that have included Paris, Brussels and Dhaka, Bangladesh,” according to the New York Times.
While Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of ISIS, al-Adnani is described as the group’s most public figure.
“Abu Mohammad al-Adnani is an absolutely key figure in this terrorist group. He’s much more than just a spokesman — one of their most senior figures. Perhaps one could argue their most senior figure, certainly their most recognizable figure after Baghdadi,” terrorism analyst Paul Cruickshank told CNN earlier this year after al-Adnani sustained injuries due to a coalition airstrike.