U.S.-led coalition forces said on Tuesday they have killed the Islamic State (ISIS) terrorist group’s chief cleric, Turki Al-Binali, in a Syria airstrike last month, Fox News reported.
Al-Binali, who called himself "Grand Mufti," was reportedly killed in an airstrike on May 31 in Mayadin, Syria, said the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.
The cleric's main role was recruiting extremists and causing terrorist attacks across the globe. Al-Binali, who has been the group's chief cleric since 2014, supplied propaganda encouraging murder and other atrocious acts.
He tried to legitimize the formation of the so-called "caliphate" and was a close confidant of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the jihadi group.
The Bahraini cleric wrote religious justifications for the enslavement of thousands of women from Iraq's Yazidi minority and helped establish the ISIS branch in Libya, according to Fox News. He rose to be one of the extremist group's leading ideologues.
Al-Binali’s death follows the deaths of several senior ISIS members in Syria and Iraq in recent years.
Last month, the Syrian army said it had killed ISIS’s “minister of war”, Abu Musab al-Masri. A previous ISIS minister of war, Abu Omar al-Shishani, was killed last year. The Pentagon said Shishani was likely to have been killed in a U.S. air strike in Syria.
Last month, deputy ISIS leader Ayad al-Jumaili was killed in an air strike carried out by the Iraqi air force in the region of al-Qaim, near the border with Syria.
In October of 2016, ISIS confirmed the death of its propaganda chief, Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad.
His death followed that of ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, who was killed in an American air strike on August 30.
The fate of al-Baghdadi remains unclear. There have been several reports in recent months suggesting that Baghdadi had been injured or even killed, including a claim by Russia just last week. None of those reports have been confirmed, however.