Beirut — Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, founder of the terror group and responsible for overseeing international operations, was killed in Aleppo in Syria. The terror organization published an eulogy Monday but the details of Adnani’s death remain unknown.

ISIS’ news agency Amaq reported Tuesday that one of the jihadist group’s most prominent leaders was killed while checking on the operations to attack the military camps against Aleppo, a province where the terrorists hold territory. Adnani, 39, was born in Binnish in northern Syria. Only a few people knew what his aspect was like because top ISIS fighters who had access to meetings with him were always blindfolded.

Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, ISIS
Abu Muhammad al-Adnani captured in a video published by ISIS. Image credit: AP.

The New York Times described him as a man who played a key role in the execution videos the jihadists publish as a matter of routine. A subject of a $5 million U.S. State Department reward, he was at the top of the list of most wanted ISIS’ leaders by the United States, as a senior intelligence official told NBC last December.

The Islamic State holdings in Aleppo province have recently been under attacks by the U.S.—supported Syrian Democratic Forces, Turkey—backed Syrian rebels, and by an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias. The terrorists’ supply lines have been cut off from the Turkish border, near the northern part of Aleppo that is also the target of American and Russian airstrikes.

Abu Muhammad al-Adnani had been under constant attack by US-backed forces

Iraq reported in January that Adnani had suffered injuries in an air strike that took place in the western province of Anbar. He was then moved to the north of the terror group’s capital in Iraq, Mosul. The Brookings Institution has informed that Adnani, who played allegiance to Islamic State’s predecessor al Qaeda more than ten years ago, was once imprisoned by U.S. forces in Iraq.

In June 2014, Adnani declared in a statement that the jihadist group was establishing a modern-day caliphate gaining control over large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria. The senior strategist was the leader of ISIS’ propaganda arm and played a major role in planning attacks against Western targets.

The New York Times reported that as the head of the terror group’s external operational division, he was in charge of recruiting people around the world to carry out attacks that have involved Paris, Brussels, and Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In a September 2014 speech, he encouraged Islamists to kill Europeans by smashing their head with a rock, slaughter them with a knife, or by running them over with a car. He meant that Europeans should be killed by any means necessary.

Adnani gave his final public speech in May, when he said that ISIS valued attacks against civilians in Western countries more than success on the battlefield, as reported by SITE Intelligence Group, which constantly monitors the threat from the terrorists.

“Do you think, America, that defeat is by the loss of towns or territory? Were we defeated when we lost the cities in Iraq and retreated to the desert without a city or a land?” He declared at the time and then suggested the answer: “No, true defeat is losing the will and desire to fight.”

Source: The New York Times