With reports earlier this week centering on the idea that slain ISIS spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani was a wildly important leader in the movement, and that his death is likely to be a huge blow to the caliphate, US and Russian officials are now issuing competing claims over who actually killed him.
The Pentagon had reported Tuesday night that they had “targeted” him, but were not able to immediately confirm his death. Russia’s own statement, on Wednesday, claimed their intelligence said Adnani was killed in one of their airstrikes, and that he was among 40 ISIS fighters slain.
US officials mocked the Russian claim as “a joke,” though the Pentagon continues to insist that they have not finalized their assessment of their own strike. Despite this, they insist they have total certainty that Russia didn’t manage to kill him in their own airstrikes.
This likely wouldn’t be such an issue if the early reports hadn’t centered so heavily around how super important Adnani was, though in practice almost any slain ISIS fighter that officials have a name for is presented as one of their upper echelon, and virtually irreplaceable, even though history has shown ISIS to be remarkably resilient and able to replace about anybody.