U.S.-led forces said Tuesday in a press release that they killed the Islamic State’s chief cleric in May.
Turki al-Bin’ali, the chief cleric who referred to himself as the Grand Mufti, was killed by U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria in May, according to a press release from Operation Inherent Resolve.
Bin’ali’s central job was to recruit foreign fighters and instigate terror attacks. He held the high-ranking position from 2014 until May, according to details issued by the coalition.
Bin’ali was a close associate of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
“Leveraging his self-proclaimed religious role, his propaganda writings included the call for terrorists to pledge allegiance to al-Baghdadi as ‘caliph.’ His recruiting efforts for the terror group also included multiple recorded lectures attempting to justify and encouraging the slaughter of innocents,” the coalition said in a statement.
Jihadi websites reported earlier in June that Bin’ali had been killed.
Bin’ali, a cleric from Bahrain, was born in 1984 to a wealthy Sunni family and studied at the College of Islamic and Arabic Studies in Dubai. Authorities from the United Arab Emirates eventually deported him from the country due to his extremism, forcing Bin’ali to finish his education in Bahrain and Lebanon. In 2013, he left Bahrain and moved to Libya to help recruit for ISIS and later took over as chief cleric for the terror group in November 2014.
At one point, Bin’ali was floated as a possible successor to Baghdadi, supposing the caliph was killed, because of his deep religious knowledge, but as of late, his standing had been somewhat diminished in the group, as evidenced by the fact that he was passed over for the role of chief ISIS spokesman after Abu Mohammed al Adnani was killed in August 2016. He was also noticeably absent from much of official ISIS propaganda.
As part of his religious proclamations, Bin’ali stated in the past that “There is no doubt that enslaving [women] of infidel warriors” is allowed. He also declared that “it is not permitted to kill [women] and children, but they become slaves to Muslims.”
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