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Islamic State Confirms Death of Senior Leader

FILE - Islamic State fighters parade on military vehicles along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province in this 2014 photo.

Islamic State extremists confirmed on Monday the death of one their most senior leaders, whom the Pentagon said was killed early last month in a precision airstrike near the northern Syrian terrorist stronghold of Raqqa.

An IS statement posted online memorialized Wa'il Adil Hasan Salman al-Fayad, also known by the U.S. military as "Dr. Wa'il." The statement did not say when or where the propaganda chief died.

The Pentagon said Fayad was targeted and killed September 7 near Raqqa, the terror group's self-proclaimed capital.A Pentagon official who viewed video of the strike last month told VOA Fayad died while sitting on a motorcycle parked next to a house.

At the time, U.S. officials described Fayad as a prominent member of Islamic State's Senior Shura Council, which issues edicts and ensures they are followed.He was also believed to have overseen the production of propaganda videos showing torture and executions.

The Pentagon also said Fayad was a close associate of Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, a chief IS strategist killed in northern Syria by a U.S.-led coalition airstrike in late August.

Islamic State controls large swaths of Iraq and Syria, where it has broadcast beheadings of journalists, aid workers and ethnic minorities while attempting to establish an Islamic caliphate.

However, analysts say Islamic State has steadily lost ground this year in both countries, as the Iraqi military pressed a series of counteroffensives at home, and as Syrian rebels and Kurdish fighters, backed by U.S. air power, battle to drive the militants from northern Syria.

(VOA's Carla Babb contributed to this report)