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Pentagon Confirms Its Air Strike Killed Top Islamic State Strategist

The Pentagon has confirmed that a U.S. air strike killed Islamic State spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani in Syria last month.

"The strike near Al-Bab, Syria, removes from the battlefield ISIL's chief propagandist, recruiter, and architect of external terrorist operations," Pentagon press secretary Peter Cook said on September 12, using another acronym for the extremist group.

Because of Adnani's vital role in inspiring lone-wolf attacks against civilian targets around the world, his death will "make it harder for the group to operate," Cook said.

The August 30 air strike was conducted by a Predator drone, which fired a Hellfire missile at the car Adnani was traveling in.

Adnani was the main spokesman for IS, and U.S. officials say he played a major role in high-profile attacks over the past year, including the ones in Paris, Brussels, Istanbul, and Bangladesh. Officials say he also had a hand in the downing of a Russian airliner over the Sinai Peninsula.

Besides encouraging signature IS lone-wolf attacks, Adnani actively recruited new IS members from abroad.

Russia on August 31 had claimed responsibility for his death, but Pentagon officials dismissed that as a "joke."

Based on reporting by AP, AFP, dpa, and Reuters