Airstrike Kills Senior ISIS leader Known as 'Dr. Wa'il'

This undated file image posted on a militant website on Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State in Raqqa, Syria. Militant site via AP
This undated file image posted on a militant website on Jan. 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, shows fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State in Raqqa, Syria. Militant site via AP

A precision munitions airstrike last week near Raqqa, Syria -- a stronghold for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS -- killed a senior leader believed to have played a part in the terror group's gruesome "execution videos," the Pentagon said in a statement Friday.

The ISIS leader known as "Dr. Wa'il," or Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, was targeted by a coalition airstrike Sept. 7, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said.

Wa'il was ISIS' minister of information and a senior member of the group's Shura Council, Cook said.

The airstrike that killed Wa'il was part of a series targeting senior ISIS leadership in an effort to weaken the organization ahead of planned offensives to retake the strongholds of Raqqa, the self-proclaimed ISIS capital, and Mosul in northwestern Iraq.

"The removal of ISIL's senior leaders degrades its ability to retain territory, and its ability to plan, finance and direct attacks inside and outside of the region," Cook said, using another acronym for ISIS. "We will continue to work with our coalition partners to build momentum in the campaign to deal ISIL a lasting defeat."

Wa'il was said to have overseen ISIS' production of terrorist propaganda videos showing torture and executions and was a close associate of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, the ISIS senior leader believed to have been in charge of plotting overseas terror attacks and recruiting foreign fighters.

Adnani was targeted by a U.S. airstrike near the Syrian town of al-Bab, northwest of Raqqa, on Aug. 30, but his death was not confirmed by the U.S. until two weeks later. Adnani had been at the top of the U.S. terrorist most wanted list with a $5 million bounty offered for his death or capture.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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