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Islamic State propaganda chief killed in Syria's Aleppo

Adnani was one of the group's longest-serving and most prominent leaders along with the caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Photograph: (AFP)

Beirut, Lebanon Aug 30, 2016, 08.29 PM (IST)

Islamic State spokesman and head of external operations Abu Muhammad al-Adnani has been killed in Aleppo in Syria, the organisation's Amaq news agency said on Tuesday.

The United States carried out an air strike targeting Adnani, a US defense official said after the militant group announced the group's longest-serving leaders had been killed.

The Amaq news agency, however, reported that Adnani was killed "while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns against Aleppo".

The US official said the strike targeted a vehicle in the town of al-Bab in Syria.

He declined to say whether Adnani was killed. 

Adnani was one of the group's most prominent leaders along with group's caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He has been the group's chief propagandist since he declared in a statement that the group was establishing a caliphate cover huge swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Recent advances by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Kurdish and Arab militias, and by Syrian rebels backed by Turkey, have made inroads into Islamic State holdings in Aleppo province, cutting them off from the Turkish border and supply lines along it.

According to Hisham al-Hashimi, a security analyst who advises the Iraqi government on Islamic State, Adnani was injured in a coalition strike on August 17 in north of Aleppo.

The Islamic State is fighting Turkish and US-backed Syrian rebels there.

A US counter-terrorism official who monitors Islamic State said that Adnani's death will hurt the militants "in the area that increasingly concerns us as the group loses more and more of its caliphate and its financial base ... and turns to mounting and inspiring more attacks in Europe, Southeast Asia and elsewhere".

Designated a “global terrorist” by the US this year, Adnani was one of the first foreign fighters to oppose US-led coalition forces in Iraq since 2003.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

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