Coalition forces killed one of the Islamic State terror group’s most senior leaders in a precision strike in Syria this month, the Pentagon said Friday.
Wa’il Adil Salman al-Fayad, Islamic State’s so-called minister of information, who also went by the name “Dr. Wa’il,” was targeted and killed by an airstrike on September 7, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said.
Fayad was targeted in Raqqa, the terror group's self-proclaimed capital. At the time of the strike, Fayad was sitting on a motorcycle next to a house, a defense official who saw footage of the strike told VOA Friday.
Cook said Fayad was a prominent member of the terror group’s Senior Shura Council, the governing authority of the IS that hands down orders and ensures they are followed. He oversaw the production of IS propaganda videos, which promote executions and torture.
According to the Pentagon, Fayad was a close associate of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the IS spokesman and chief strategist who was hit and killed by a coalition airstrike August 30 near Al Bab, Syria. U.S. forces confirmed his death September 12.
FILE - Islamic State's Abu Muhammad al-Adnani is pictured in this undated handout photo, courtesy the U.S. Department of State.
A defense official told VOA the strikes on Adnani and Fayad had further isolated IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who heavily relies on a small circle of people to pass down orders and collect information.
“That’s two of his closest confidants, whom he’s spent years developing a trusting relationship with. Two dead within just a couple of weeks,” the defense official said.
Adnani was directly involved in recruiting foreign fighters and also directed IS's major attacks outside its strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
"Significant operations carried out on his watch include the Paris attacks, the Brussels airport attack, the Istanbul airport attack, the downing of the Russian airliner in the Sinai, the suicide bombings during a rally in Ankara and the attack on a cafe in Bangladesh," the official said. "In total, these attacks killed over 1,800 people and wounded nearly 4,000."