Assassination of Top Islamic State Commander Starts Jihadist Social Media War


JAFFA, Israel – The reported assassination of Islamic State Spokesperson Abu Mohammed al-Adnani has sparked an online war between his followers and rival jihadists, chiefly Al Qaeda sympathizers, who have celebrated the purported elimination on social media.

IS supporters have vowed to avenge al-Adnani’s alleged death “not only against non-believing Crusaders who took him out, but first and foremost against those who pretend to be Muslim and celebrate the death of Sheikh Abu Mohammed.”

The pro-IS news agency Aamaq on Tuesday had a report that al-Adnani was assassinated near Aleppo, Syria.

Russia has claimed it was behind al-Adnani’s death, an assertion deemed “laughable” by a U.S. official.

“It would be laughable but for the very real humanitarian suffering Russia has inflicted,” a defense official told CNN on Wednesday. “We stand by the statement we made yesterday. We conducted a strike that targeted al-Adnani. We are assessing the results of that strike.”

AFP reported:

In a statement released on jihadist media sites, the IS group said Adnani was “martyred while surveying the operations to repel the military campaigns against Aleppo.” The message, however, provided no details on whether he was killed in an air strike or ground attack.

The Syria-based jihadist group has been suffering a string of defeats in recent weeks in Aleppo as well as the strategic regions around Jarablus near the Syria–Turkey border.

A senior figure in the IS group’s leadership ranks, Adnani was a familiar figure in jihadist media circles with his frequent calls for attacks on “the infidels,” including Western as well as Shiite Muslim targets.

On August 18, 2012, the US State Department put al-Adnani on the Special Designated Global Terrorist List with a $5 million reward for any information on the IS group militant. …

Hours after the announcement, there was no official confirmation of Adnani’s death, though the Pentagon said he had been the target of US air strikes on Tuesday in the al-Bab region of northern Syria.

In the wake of the report, supporters of Nusra Front, until very recently Al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate, and other jihadists accused al-Adnani and IS of “playing into the hands of the enemies of the Syrian Islamic revolution.” IS supporters, for their part, threatened revenge.

Sheikh Abdel Razeq Almahdi, a supporter of Nusra Front, tweeted: “One of Adnani’s friends just sent me a message promising to hurt me and my friends for his death rather than the Alawites and the coalition.”

On Sheikh Almahdi’s private network, an IS supporter wrote: “Sheikh Adnani died as a martyr for Allah, the man who was compassionate always told us that we should pray to Allah to return our brothers to the way of Islam. The man who gave you permission to enter the territory of the Islamic State, you will meet him on judgment day. I see you and your friends are now happy at his assassination by an American bombardment but tell me, what will be Allah’s punishment for this?

“I want you and the other lowlifes who pretend to be Islamists to know that after the Sheikh’s assassination we will reach you with silencers and explosive devices, we will target your heads and your tails, add to your nightmares, because the man who always said ‘leave them alone, Allah will take care of them’ is no longer with us. He was killed but left us thirsty for revenge, and you’ll come before the non-believing Crusaders. Be happy today, be happy tomorrow too, but after that you’ll be crying in a pool of blood.”

Abu Seif replied: “Tell him when he and his dogs had mercy for the blood of Muslims. And now he’s threatening us. Tell him that we’ll kill them and their heads, treacherous dogs.”

Abu Mahmoud the Palestinian, also an Al Qaeda supporter, posted a screenshot of a threatening message from an IS man and wrote: “Look what one of their pathetic spokesmen writes following Adnani’s assassination. They should be ashamed.”

Abdullah, also an Al Qaeda supporter, replied: “The fact is that Al Qaeda in Syria changed its name and is now gone. The organization seeks to integrate into a coalition of treacherous Syrian groups just to avoid being targeted by air raids.”

Abu Albaraa Almaqdesi, a detractor of IS, tweeted: “Really, no one is more pathetic than IS, maybe except the Shi’ites.”

Abu Hamza, a member of the anti-IS jihadi group Ahrar Alsham, tweeted: “His assassination will change nothing. He was a propagandist, like the ones working for the Syrian regime. Let’s ask Allah to heed to his famous call [against Ahrar Alsham]: ‘Break their back, kill their leaders, and drop their flag.'”

Dr Hani Alsubaii, a high-profile Al Qaeda ideologue, wrote: “Now the friends of the Prophet say their thanks to Allah for the death of that infidel. The friends of the Prophet used to rejoice when one of their rivals was incapacitated,” referring to Adnani.

One user replied: “May Allah give you AIDS.”

Another tweeted in reply: “You are a fraud, a well-known fraud. How can you rejoice at the killing of a jihadi by the bearers of the cross?”