Former Islamic State right-hand man Abu Muhammad al-Adnani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in August, the day he surfaced after months of hiding, The Washington Post reports.
While in hiding, Adnani became increasingly concerned for his own safety, surrounding himself with small children while sleeping as to deter U.S. drone strikes. He refused to go outside during the day time and did not allow cell phones in his presence. Adnani lived in a crowded apartment building until intense fighting caused him to flee.
As Adnani and an associate fled the Syrian town where he was hiding, a U.S. hellfire missile struck his car on Aug. 30, killing them both instantly.
Adnani rose to chief spokesman of ISIS, frequently encouraging lone wolf attacks in the West, particularly on non-believers. Rita Katz, of Site Intelligence group, tweeted after the announcement of Adnani’s death that ISIS supporters calling for lone wolf attacks cite Adnani more than any other terrorist.
He was the head of an elite special operations branch within ISIS that is creating a network of hundreds of foreign fighters who are actively planning multiple coordinated attacks across Europe. His death is likely a significant logistical and propaganda blow to the terrorist group.
Suspected NYC bomber Ahmad Rahami referenced Adnani in his journal in late September, calling him “brother adnani.” In his last public speech, Adnani advised would-be terrorists in the West that attacks on civilians were “dearer and better for us” than battlefield victories for ISIS.
Adnani and other top ISIS official deaths have reportedly spooked ISIS leaderAbu Bakr Al-Baghdadi into hiding. “He is in deep hiding because we have eliminated nearly all of his deputies,” U.S. envoy to the counter-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk told U.S. allies in early November.
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