How the U.S. Targeted ISIS' Second-in-Command

(Washington Post) Joby Warrick - On Aug. 30, when Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, chief spokesman and No. 2 leader for the Islamic State, left his hiding place in the northern Syrian town of al-Bab, the Americans were waiting for him. A joint surveillance operation by the CIA and the Pentagon tracked his car before a Hellfire missile struck the vehicle. At least six high-level Islamic State officials have died in U.S. airstrikes in the past four months, along with dozens of deputies and brigadiers. The group's chieftain, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has not made a public appearance in more than two years. "He is in deep hiding because we have eliminated nearly all of his deputies," said Brett McGurk, the Obama administration's special envoy to the anti-ISIS coalition. The loss of senior leaders does not mean that the Islamic State is about to collapse. Terrorism experts caution that the group's decentralized structure ensures that it would survive even the loss of Baghdadi himself. But the deaths point to the growing sophistication of the targeted killing campaign by the CIA and the Defense Department over the past two years.

2016-11-29 00:00:00

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