Death of ISIS Leader Confirmed by Pentagon
(New York, NY) – In the wake of the confirmation of the death of ISIS strategist and spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani by the U.S. Defense Department, the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is releasing resources on a number of individuals who may be in the running for one or more of the key roles Adnani occupied.
Adnani, the leader of ISIS in Syria, was ISIS’s official spokesman, but played other key roles as well. He led ISIS’s extensive social media and recruiting strategy, directed ISIS’s unit responsible for exporting terror attacks internationally, including those in France and Belgium, and through speeches, repeatedly called on followers to launch lone-wolf attacks in their home countries against civilians. Adnani was the target of a U.S. airstrike on August 30 near the Syrian city of al-Bab, in Aleppo province.
Following are profiles of ISIS leaders who may be candidates to assume one or more of Adnani’s roles:
Abu Ahmad al-Alwani is reportedly a “senior officer” in ISIS. In 2014, Alwani reportedly headed ISIS’s military council, having previously overseen ISIS’s activities in Iraq’s Diyala province. He was once a member of the Iraqi army under Saddam Hussein. London’s Sun newspaper reported in February 2015 that Alwani was deceased, but subsequent stories refuted that account.
Turki al-Binali is ISIS’s chief religious advisor and directs ISIS’s Research and Fatwa Department. Binali has recruited foreign fighters from the Gulf and authored much of ISIS’s literature, including the religious justifications for the sexual abuse of female Yazidi slaves. In April 2014, Binali published an essay arguing that an Islamic army did not need complete territorial control before declaring a caliphate, which was followed by the declaration of the caliphate in June.
Abu Fatima al-Jaheishi is a senior ISIS military leader. In July 2015, Jaheishi was ranked among the group’s top five commanders and headed its military committee. He is believed to have previously directed ISIS’s operations in southern Iraq and served as the ISIS-appointed governor of Kirkuk. Jaheishi reportedly succeeded ISIS deputy Ahmad al-Hayali after the latter was killed in a U.S. airstrike.
Ayad al-Jumaili is a senior ISIS leader who Reuters named in December 2015 as the leader of an internal ISIS security unit known as the Amniya, or “security” in Arabic. Jumaili is reportedly from Fallujah, was previously an intelligence officer in the Iraqi army, and answers directly to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Gulmurod Khalimov is reportedly ISIS’s minister of war, appointed following the death of Omar al-Shishani in July 2016. Before joining ISIS, Khalimov commanded Tajikistan’s elite OMON paramilitary police force and had received military training in the U.S.
Abu Luqman is the current ISIS-appointed governor of Raqqa and previously served as ISIS’s governor of Aleppo, as well as the senior security official for Syria. He reportedly has a role in appointing ISIS leadership, overseeing the detention of foreign hostages, and deciding who receives stolen fuel. In 2015, Luqman reportedly served as a member of ISIS’s governance council, chaired by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Abu-Muhammad al-Shimali is the Border Chief of ISIS’s Immigration and Logistics Committee, facilitates the travel of foreign fighters into Syria and the travel of ISIS terrorists into Europe. French authorities believe that Shimali directed the operatives who traveled from Syria to France to carry out the 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.
Faysal Ahmad Bin Ali al-Zahrani oversees ISIS’s oil and gas industry in northeastern Syria. ISIS reportedly received tens of millions of dollars in profits from those oil fields between September 2014 and March 2015. In 2015, Zahrani also took control of the production of vehicle-borne Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
About The Counter Extremism Project (CEP)
The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) is a not-for-profit, non-partisan, international policy organization formed to combat the growing threat from extremist ideology. Led by a renowned group of former world leaders and former diplomats, CEP combats extremism by pressuring financial support networks, countering the narrative of extremists and their online recruitment, and advocating for strong laws, policies and regulations.