MOSCOW, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the second highest-ranking leader of the Islamic State, died in a Russian airstrike, the Russian defense ministry said Wednesday.
Al-Adnani died as Russian bombers attacked the city of Aleppo, the ministry said. The Islamic State confirmed the death of their spokesman and chief inciter of violence against the West on Tuesday.
“On August 30, 2016, Russia’s Su-34 bomber destroyed, by an airstrike in the area of Ma’arat Umm Hawsh, a large group of IS militants comprising up to 40 people. According to reports confirmed by several intelligence channels, field commander Abu Mukhammad al-Adnani, better known as ‘the official spokesperson’ of the international terrorist group Islamic State, was among the liquidated terrorists,” the defense ministry report, cited by the Tass news agency, said.
It added al-Adnani was second in the IS chain of command to leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and “known for his calls to stage terrorist attacks in countries of Western Europe and in the United States.”
The report contradicted: “http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/isis-terror/isis-says-no-2-leader-mohammad-al-adnani-dead-n640171″ target=”_blank”} an initial Pentagon assessment of al-Adnani’s death. Although it did not confirm his death, the Pentagon announced that coalition forces conducted a “precision strike” targeting him near Al-Bab, a Syrian town near the border with Turkey.
“We are still assessing the results of the strike, but al-Adnani’s removal from the battlefield would mark another significant blow [to IS],” Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said in a statement.