Western forces celebrated news of his death, while his able followers and recruits labeled him a martyr.
But while Islamic State leader Abu Mohammed al-Adnani is dead, the terror group is far from defeated.
Islamic State, which has suffered the loss of territory including the strategic Syrian city of Palmyra in recent months, was dealt a further blow when al-Adnani was killed in an airstrike on Aug. 30.
Russia’s Defense Ministry and the Pentagon confirmed that an airstrike had killed al-Adnani, one of the last living senior members of the group.
The dead leader, who called for jihadists in Australia and several other countries to “rise and defend your state from your place wherever you may be,” was among the militants who seized huge tracts of Iraq and Syria in 2014.
As Islamic State’s spokesman, al-Adnani was also its most visible member. As head of external operations, he was in charge of attacks overseas, including Europe.
Now there are dozens of key militants willing and able to take on his roles.
Not-for-profit international policy organization The Counter Extremism Project (CEP) has compiled a list of potential candidates who could potentially take over.
The CEP, led by former world leaders and former diplomats, profiled the terrorists they believe could potentially fill the power void.
Their credentials speak for themselves.
ABU AHMAD AL-ALWANI
The senior officer of Islamic State reportedly heads the terror group’s military council and previously oversaw its activities in Iraq’s Diyala province. The former Iraqi army officer once worked under Saddam Hussein and was even reported dead last year. However, the CEP notes that account has been refuted.
Regarded as Islamic State’s chief religious adviser, al-Binali has recruited foreign fighters from the Gulf and authored much of the terror group’s literature, including the religious justifications for the sexual abuse of female Yazidi slaves, according to the CEP. In April 2014, al-Binali published an essay arguing that an Islamic army did not need complete territorial control before declaring a caliphate. That declaration came in June.
ABU FATIMA AL-JAHEISHI
According to the CEP, the senior IS military leader was ranked among the group’s top five commanders and headed its military committee in July 2015.
It is understood he directed IS’s operations in southern Iraq and also served as the group’s appointed governor of Kirkuk. Jaheishi reportedly succeeded IS deputy Ahmad al-Hayali after the latter was killed in a US airstrike.
The senior leader last December was named the head of an internal IS security unit known as the Amniya. Reportedly from Fallujah, he was previously an intelligence officer in the Iraqi army and answers directly to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The IS minister of war was appointed to this position following the death of Omar al-Shishani in July this year. Before joining the terror group, Khalimov commanded Tajikistan’s elite OMON paramilitary police force and received military training in the US, the CEP revealed.
Currently the IS-appointed governor of Raqqa, Luqman previously served as the group’s governor of Aleppo, as well as the senior security official for Syria. It is understood he assists in appointing IS leaders and oversees the detention of foreign hostages.
Regarded as the border chief of IS’s Immigration and Logistics Committee, al-Shimali helps arrange the travel of foreign fighters. According to the CEP, French authorities believe he directed the operatives who traveled from Syria to France to carry out the 2015 Paris attacks that killed 130 people.
FAYSAL AHMAD BIN ALI AL-ZAHRANI
This is the man who oversees Islamic State’s oil and gas industry in northeastern Syria. The terror group received “tens of millions of dollars in profits from those oilfields between September 2014 and March 2015,” the CEP reported.