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Airstrike Kills Senior ISIS Leader Known As 'Dr. Wa'il,' U.S. Officials Say

The Pentagon says the militant known as "Dr. Wa'il", the Islamic State's minister of propaganda and one of its most senior leaders, was killed by a coalition airstrike near the group's de facto capital, Raqqah, Syria.

The news comes weeks after ISIS said its head of propaganda was killed in the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad "operated as the minister of information for the terror organization and was a prominent member of its Senior Shura Council" — the leadership group at the top of ISIS, Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement Friday.

More from Cook:

"Wa'il oversaw ISIL's production of terrorist propaganda videos showing torture and executions. He was a close associate of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the ISIL spokesman and leader for plotting and inspiring external terror attacks."

As the Two-Way reported at the end of August, when Adnani was killed:

"Adnani, whose real name was Taha Sobhi Falaha, was born in Syria, according to the U.S. State Department. He was one of the first foreign fighters to oppose the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq and is responsible for publicizing — and voicing — the Islamic State's claim to forming a so-called Islamic Caliphate."

NPR's Tom Bowman tells our Newscast unit that "for months now, the U.S. military has made a priority of targeting senior leaders of the Islamic State, killing such leaders as 'Jihadi John,' the nickname for British citizen Mohammed Emwazi," who appeared in execution videos involving Western hostages.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.