U.S.-led coalition forces under the auspices of Defense Secretary James Mattis severely weakened the Islamic State group during an airstrike in Syria last month, perhaps even to the point of collapse, by reportedly eliminating the terror group’s chief cleric, Turki al-Bin’ali.
“Coalition forces killed Turki al-Bin’ali, the self-proclaimed ‘Grand Mufti’ or chief cleric, of ISIS, in an airstrike May 31 in Mayadin, Syria,” Operation Inherent Resolve announced in a statement Wednesday.
“Al-Bin’ali had a central role in recruiting foreign terrorist fighters and provoking terrorist attacks around the world,” the statement continued. “As chief cleric to ISIS since 2014, he provided propaganda to incite murder and other atrocities, attempted to legitimize the creation of the ‘caliphate,’ and was a close confidant of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
As noted by Fox News, his recruitment efforts included “film(ing) lectures trying to condone and provoke the slaying of innocent people” and preparing texts containing “religious justifications for the enslavement of thousands of women from Iraq’s Yazidi minority.”
He was in effect a key figure, meaning his death represented a stunning blow to the terror movement, though it was by no means the first.
In the last few years, a number of key Islamic State group figures have been eliminated by coalition forces in Syria and Iraq, with an uptick in anti-terror efforts by the Trump administration leading to the death last month of the terror suspect who planned the 2016 Istanbul attack.