There had been a $5 million bounty on his head for over a year, payable by the United States Department, and had been in hiding, living in a crowded apartment building, going out only after dark and forbidding the use of cellphones around him.

The Islamic State senior leader and chief spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, lived in fear of his life, even taking the step of surrounding himself with young children in the belief that their presence would reduce the risk from U.S. initiated drone strikes.

In the end, however, the man who issued the first ISIL command to its supporters to kill American, European and Canadian “disbelievers,” was forced out of his Syrian hiding place as violence closed in around him.

Only moments later a U.S. Hellfire missile made a direct hit on his vehicle.

He was killed instantly.

International news sources used the verb, “obliterated” in describing scene.

Al-Adnani was often described as the official spokesman of ISIS – referred to as ISIL or IS – second in seniority only to the terror group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Baghdadi is reportedly “in deep hiding because we have eliminated nearly all of his deputies,” U.S. envoy to the counter-ISIS coalition Brett McGurk said early in November.

Al-Adnani, who praised wanna-be terrorists in the West as “dearer and better for us” than battlefield victories, drew attention for a September 2014 speech in which he gave explicit instructions for murdering non-believers.

“If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him.”

Al-Adnani’s death is not only a blow to the leadership structure of the terror group, but also one that resonates on an emotional level with the faithful.

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