A key Islamic State leader has been killed in a suspected US drone strike in Syria, dealing a further blow to the militants who have been losing men and territory.
Reuters is quoting Washington officials as saying the US targeted Abu Muhammad al-Adnani in a strike on a vehicle traveling in the Syrian town of al-Bab.
But they stopped short of confirming Adnani’s death.
On Tuesday, Islamic State said one of its most prominent and longest-serving leaders was killed in an apparent US aitr strike.
Such US assessments often take days and often lag behind official announcements by militant groups.
Adnani was one of the last living senior members, along with self-appointed caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who founded the group and stunned the Middle East by seizing huge tracts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
As Islamic State’s spokesman, Adnani was its most visible member.
And as head of external operations, he was in charge of attacks overseas, including Europe, that have become an increasingly important tactic for the group as its core Iraqi and Syrian territory has been eroded by military losses.
Advances by Iraq’s army and allied militia toward Islamic State’s most important possession of Mosul have put the group under new pressure at a moment when a US-backed coalition has cut its Syrian holdings off from the Turkish border.
Those military setbacks have been accompanied by air strikes that have killed several of the group’s leaders, undermining its organizational ability and dampening its morale.
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