An airstrike has killed a senior ISIS leader who, as the group's minister of information, produced some of its gruesome execution videos, the Pentagon announced today. A U.S. official described "Dr. Wa'il" as one of ISIS's top leaders who had special access to ISIS's senior leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
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The confirmed death of "Dr. Wa'il" is the second strike in the last two weeks targeting a senior ISIS leader involved in ISIS's media operation.
"On September 7, coalition forces conducted a precision strike near Raqqah, Syria, that targeted and killed 'Dr. Wa'il,' also known as Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, one of ISIL's most senior leaders," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said in a statement today.
"He operated as the minister of information for the terror organization and was a prominent member of its Senior Shura Council -- ISIL's leadership group," he added. ISIS is also known as ISIL.
"Wa'il oversaw ISIL's production of terrorist propaganda videos showing torture and executions," Cook said, and was "a close associate of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani."
Al-Adnani was known as ISIS' top spokesman and responsible for the plotting of the group's overseas terror attacks, such as last November's attacks in Paris and the airport attacks in Brussels and Ankara, Turkey.
A U.S. official described Wa'il as outranking al-Adnani as one of ISIS senior leaders, possibly number three in its hierarchy, who had special access to the group's top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Al-Adnani was targeted by an airstrike on Aug. 30 as he rode in a vehicle near the Syrian town of al-Bab.
Earlier this week, the Pentagon confirmed its initial assessment that al-Adnani had been killed in the airstrike.
A U.S. official said it has been confirmed that Wa'il was killed in the airstrike, which another official said was carried out by a drone targeting his home in Raqqah, ISIS's de facto capital in Syria.
"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. "We will continue to work with our coalition partners to build momentum in the campaign to deal ISIL a lasting defeat."
One U.S. official said it was unclear if Wa'il outranked al-Adnani in ISIS's hierarchy.